Volunteer coaches are unsung heroes | Bainbridge Letters to the Editor

Letters from Bainbridge residents on a variety of issues.


Praise for volunteer coaches overdue

I read with interest the recent article in the Review stating that Scott Orness would become one of the basketball coaches at Woodward Middle School. I am glad Scott is returning to coaching. The community is fortunate to have him.

The article also said Steve Toepel stepped down after the past season. It did not say that Steve had volunteered for this time-consuming job for more than a decade, he was not an employee of the school district and had performed these duties because he loves the game and would like kids on this island to better understand the basics of basketball. In addition, he built a well-respected, impressive program. Talk about lucky to have . . .

Here’s to Steve Toepel and other volunteer coaches who bring their knowledge, patience, time and care to the young people of this island. Thank you for the countless trips to Port Angeles, Sequim, Bellingham and Highline Community College; for taking late-night calls from confused parents, for making gut-wrenching roster decisions and for providing Bainbridge Island with consistent, reliable ambassadors.


Sunrise Drive


Image of seniors should be positive

I was deeply saddened for the families of the student arrested and those yet to be arrested for vandalism to BIPD property. They have and will suffer a public humiliation brought about by those they love the most. I have no sympathy for those individuals involved and encourage the prosecutor to “throw the book at them.” Perhaps making them an example will chill next year’s activities.

Some of their fellow students recognized that the vandalism was also tainting the whole 2008 class. I was gratified to see my grandniece and her senior peers washing cars Friday.

By the simple act of doing a fund raiser they demonstrated to us all that good judgment is the norm and not the exception in Bainbridge Island seniors. Please judge the 2008 class by their acts and not those of the vandals. Memory of the car wash is a much prettier picture of their class than that of the police cars damaged by their fellow students.


Grow Avenue

A much happier celebration for kids

Two weeks ago my husband and I were in the city of Zagreb, Croatia. We took the tram down to the main square and realized something special was happening. It was the end of school for seniors. They arrived in small groups, wearing bright T-shirts and logos that proclaimed their particular school, and they all blew whistles. As they met others from their school, they began chanting what sounded like a game cheer. Soon the square was full of brilliant sections of color—pink, purple, red, yellow, green and blue teens jumping up and down and raising their voices in celebration.

Then, the march began. One group followed another down the main street, shouting, blowing whistles. Traffic stopped; trams pulled over; people came out of stores to wave and call their congratulations. The students marched out to a field where several bands played. They spent the afternoon and evening, dancing and singing to celebrate their graduation.

These seniors felt no need to desecrate their city or destroy personal property. Perhaps in Croatia, they have seen enough destruction.

There are good and bad traditions. Isn’t it time for seniors on Bainbridge to initiate good ones?


Fletcher Bay

Islanders need to be in touch

Over the past week, the talk of the town has been the mischief that took place at the police station. Just awful! In no way do I condone such behavior. For every action there is a reaction, and in this student’s case he’s going to have to pay the price — a pretty severe one I could imagine. Along with his family and, least of all, our taxpayers’ money.

I think there’s more taking place than just a senior prank that went too far. When I read the updated article about the student who was connected with this crime, it read the MAN in connection with this crime (18, so throw him to the wolves). It didn’t say that, but that’s what came to my mind. I know probably some of you agree, and I agree he has to pay a price. But do we as a community just support the police station or do we also support this young man? Are we really connected with young people that go to the high school. You might say, “Of course I am, look at my kid. He or she or their friends don’t behave like that — they’re good kids. I’ve done a great job.”

If that’s the way it is, then that’s great. But for the few — which nowadays seem more than a few — that fall between the cracks, what do we do for them? Is it our responsibility? Do we want to help? Do we have the time? I know that I get caught in my day-to-day stuff. I’m certainly not perfect. I could easily do more and learn more about what is going on here.

I know the island shows support in many different ways for our students, and that’s great. The things I hear the most is that “it’s such a great place to raise our kids.” The schools are great. Then you hear, which is unfortunate, that “it’s not for everybody,” and usually that comes around during their school years. The pressures these kids are under — especially the ones falling behind in their classes — must be tremendous. When events like this one occur, we automatically think, well, there’s just a few bad apples that ruin it for everybody.

What to do? I don’t have all the answers, but I know we should support people — especially young people who need help in becoming respectful, responsible and reliable. I question myself on this at times. I think we should reach out for people who make mistakes, just as we reach out to amend them, just as the senior class is doing for the police department. That’s great.

I think we should help ourselves — our families, police and the whole community — to become more conscious in what is taking place in our town.

I wish everyone a safe and peaceful summer.