Something beyond the ordinary happened when my father died six years ago. At the time, I thought the incident to be of little interest or importance to all but a few close family members, and I have since described it only to two or three friends.
This year has brought a period of spiritual breakthrough for me, and as I think of the story now, it occurs to me that it might hold meaning for others.
We buried my father in southeast Raleigh on a lovely afternoon, just as the days were beginning to cool for autumn.
My children were 7 and 4 years old at the time. My sister’s three children were a little older, about 7, 9 and 11.
She brought five white balloons to the graveside, one for each grandchild, each one tied with a single white ribbon. At the end of the service, she gathered the children, gave them their balloons, and they released them together.
All of us silently watched them, carried away into a blue sky scattered with clouds. They drifted upward, toward the skyline before us, soon out of sight.
The next morning at home in Rougemont, my wife went out to the barn to feed and water the animals. On the way in, she saw a bit of trash out in the pasture. She walked through a couple of gates, picked it up and brought it inside to me. One white balloon, tied with a white ribbon.Randy Hamilton RougemontBring back Pedersen
The real problem to all this mess is new Superintendent Thomas Forcella, not the teachers (CHN, July 22). Let us all work on transferring Forcella, not the teachers.
I know Mr. Bert Wartski’s teaching ability and his skills in motivating students in biology. My son was his student in A.P. Biology. Mr. Wartski is the best in what he does. Please leave him alone and transfer or remove the highly controversial superintendent. That is the best solution to the problem.
Bring back the previous superintendent, Dr. Pedersen, on interim basis until we can find another Pedersen.P. Anantha Reddy. Chapel Hill‘Nebulous reasons’
I graduated from Chapel Hill High School in 2009, and I am currently a senior majoring in chemistry at N.C. State. I am also drum line captain of the NCSU Marching Band (as a junior and senior) and set drummer for the NCSU Basketball Pep Band.
To hear that Bert Wartski is being forced to leave Chapel Hill High for such nebulous reasons greatly disturbs me. It would seem as though the school board is setting an example for all the bullies in the world.
Before I took A.P. Biology I had never seen an educator as committed to teaching such an enormous amount of material. He never cheapened our experience in the classroom, no matter how many assignments he had to give, or hours he had to spend after school grading (and I recall there being several assignments per day per student). I received an A in his class and a 5 on the A.P. exam because I was happy to reciprocate the dedication and accountability I saw from him every day in the classroom.
Mr. Wartski was certainly invested in his students, and the state of the school. I believe transferring him will be a large blow to the pride and confidence students, parents, and alumni have in the leadership of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education.Robert Susick Chapel HillConsequences?
I agree we should respect our authorities. At first I didn’t understand what the big deal was since the teachers’ punishment wasn’t to fire them. However, I have not been a teacher for 18 or 26 years to understand how they feel about the transfers. For them to have an attorney stand up against the school board’s decision, it must mean that it isn’t remotely easy.
The issue now is about the public vs. the school board. A mother who sat next to me at Thursday’s school board meeting told us that her son signed up for A.P. bio just to have Mr. Wartski; so did many students at CHHS.
I bought a house in the Chapel Hill High School district because of CHHS’s quality education, and relocating some teachers can alter homeowner’s decisions like that. Small changes can lead to huge impacts.
I wonder if the school board has considered how it will answer to the public, and whether it is prepared for all possible consequences. No matter what the end result is, isn’t it obvious the school board will no longer to be respected if it fails to listen to the opinion of those it serves?Mindy Zhang Via newsobserver.comNot enough room
I propose that the Dairyland Road bicycle controversy, (CHN, July 18), is mostly about where to paint a white stripe.
DOT is widening each side of the road from about 10 feet to about 12 feet. Almost every bicyclist will applaud this. I see the contractor is doing a good job maintaining the surface during construction so that it’s safe for bicycling.
But I think many experienced and thoughtful bicyclists will object if we discover that lovely new 12 foot wide ribbon of asphalt to have a white stripe applied 2 feet from the right edge.
To a careless, ignorant, or inebriated motorist, that could look like a miniature motor vehicle lane with a miniature lane along the side for cyclists, pedestrians, etc. But said motorist probably isn’t driving a miniature car, and I’m not a miniature cyclist.
There’s a lot of heavy truck traffic on Dairyland. Perhaps DOT hopes to keep those trucks off their new and perhaps somewhat fragile 2 foot addition. But as a cyclist, I know there’s not enough room for me and a large fast motor vehicle to share 12 feet of asphalt regardless of how it’s striped. And as a motorist I want oncoming traffic to use the extra width and not crowd the center on a dark night in the rain.
Please don’t call the new 2 feet of asphalt a shoulder. DOT is widening the ROAD. Hurrah for that!Paul Killough Chapel Hill A quick question
Even after his ouster as head of the combined company, Mr. Johnson supports the Duke-Progress merger. Did anyone ask him how much he stands to lose if the merger is reversed?
Just askin’.John Staddon DurhamA lose/lose situation
I am writing regarding the decision to move two experienced Chapel Hill High School teachers to different schools, against their wishes (CHN, July 22). In his letter, Superintendent Forcella announced the intended moves to address a “culture /climate problem ... at the school” and said the decisions were “about placing individuals in the right place in order to take advantage of their skills and talents.”
The lead article states that both the the Honors English teacher, Ms. Thompson, has 34 years building a curriculum on British literature and is being reassigned to teach American literature. The A.P. biology teacher, Mr Wartski, has over 15 years experience teaching A.P. Biology, and is being reassigned to teach environmental science. These reassignments don’t make sense, as they are a lose/lose situation for teachers, students and the schools. The superintendent is not taking advantage of their skills and talents by the reassignment, and will be making more work for the teachers, as they will write a whole new course outline.
The superintendent states he listened for a year before making a decision to change the system. It is interesting that Mr. Wartski was one of two teacher representatives that was part of the 2011-12 School Improvement Team that helped Principal Dingle compile the School Improvement Plan, submitted in Septmber 2011. With Principal Dingle leaving, it would make sense from an administrative viewpoint, to allow Mr Wartski to remain at Chapel Hill High School, as he has a fair amount of institutional memory.
I think the public, particularly the students, parents and teachers, have a right to see the evidence-based report that a “culture/climate problem” exists, what the superintendent’s overall plan to fix the problem is, and how these transfers play a role in solving that problem. Timothy Bukowski
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