ROSES to the students in Glenwood Elementary School's Mandarin-English dual language program, who recently turned their efforts to raising money to help victims of the terrible earthquake in China last month.Fourth-grade teacher Judy Ouyang listened with shock and sorrow, as we all did, to reports of the devastation and the awful death toll from the quake in Sichuan Province. Many of the victims were schoolchildren trapped in collapsing school buildings, and Ouyang was moved to organize a way for her own students to help their counterparts and their families in China.She and the kids put together a fundraising program that included poetry, songs and a slideshow narrated by three fifth-graders. She set a goal of $2,000. The kids almost doubled that, coming up with $3,700 to go to earthquake relief.Compassion, generosity and lending a hand when people are in trouble. Few lessons are more important.
RASPBERRIES to whoever keeps trashing The Recyclery. More than once now, vandals have broken into the ramshackle barn where the nonprofit bicycle recyling group operates. They have sprayed gaffiti, damaged some goods, tossed tools and parts around and -- oddly -- stolen some bikes. There's no need to steal them. The Recyclery gives them away anyway. That's what the group does: takes in old or discarded bikes, teaches people how to repair and maintain them, and gives them away. Vandalism is always senseless and low. But why on earth would anyone target such a harmless, low-profile, community-minded organization? True to the spirit of the place, the folks who run The Recyclery are taking a good-natured, low-key approach to the troubles. Director Chris Richmond said he wishes the perpetrators would come in through the front door during regular hours and get involved. He'd like to ask them to use the energy they're using now to make a mess into painting a mural at The Recyclery and learning to fix up a bike.
ROSES to the UNC baseball team, which turned in a spectacular season but can use whatever comfort it can get after once again coming oh-so-close to a national championship.The Tar Heels have reached the College World Series the last three years, and each time have come home empty. This year's squad seemed to be the best yet; it came in ranked No. 2 in the nation, with the top pitching staff in the land.But after pulling out back-to-back miracles last weekend to stay alive, it ran out of magic Sunday night against Fresno State. Despite falling short of their ultimate dream, the Heels have a whole lot to be proud of. They played a superb season as a team, winning 54 of the 68 games they played. They turned in magnificent individual performances and all the drama you could ever hope for on a baseball diamond.Late-inning home runs lifted Carolina in the first two games last weekend -- the first a ninth-inning grand slam, the second an eighth-inning two-run shot. Sunday, the well of clutch hits finally ran dry. ACC Pitcher of the Year Alex White, normally a starter, came out of the bullpen on three straight nights. The first two, he was heroic and unhittable. Sunday, the wear and tear finally showed. It was a terribly disappointing ending for the Tar Heels. But they had a great run, and we're betting they'll get another shot at the title before long.