Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Letters: Celebrating program that Head Started 50 years ago

THIS WEEK marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of Head Start, a comprehensive early childhood education program that opens windows of opportunity for our nation's at-risk children and families. I know firsthand the incredible difference the program is making in the lives of millions of children and their families, because I was a Head Start kid.

THIS WEEK marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of Head Start, a comprehensive early childhood education program that opens windows of opportunity for our nation's at-risk children and families. I know firsthand the incredible difference the program is making in the lives of millions of children and their families, because I was a Head Start kid.

My family faced difficult economic times in my early childhood years. My parents were loving, supportive and cared deeply about my brother and me, but struggled to make ends meet. My family turned to Luzerne County Head Start in the hope that the program would help ensure my brother and I entered kindergarten ready to succeed.

There is no question that Head Start prepared me for my academic pursuits in countless ways. But the value of Head Start goes beyond academics. Head Start's combination of academic training and social-skills development instilled in me a sense of confidence that helped me come out of my shell, both inside the classroom and out.

Through the Head Start program, my county made an investment in my future. That investment, coupled with my family's support and my hard work, gave me a chance to be successful. I went on to graduate from Franklin & Marshall College with a bachelor's degree in Government, and later earned a master's degree from American University and a law degree from Catholic University.

My professional career has been guided by a determination to give back to my community. I am proud of my 15 years of public service on the staffs of both former U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. Both have been champions for children, and Sen. Casey in particular has made empowering children the guiding focus of his public service. I recently transitioned to the role of vice president and general counsel at McAllister & Quinn, a public-affairs firm based in Washington, D.C. I expect my new role will allow me to continue to help communities and institutions across the commonwealth. More importantly, I'm happy to report that I'm a proud husband and father. If it weren't for Head Start, my life could have turned out very differently.

Ensuring access to high-quality early learning is the best way to break the cycle of poverty and get on a path to self-sufficiency. Head Start was pivotal in my family's journey. We, as a country, need to continue to invest in Head Start to ensure all kids have an opportunity to become productive members of society.

So, happy 50th birthday Head Start. Let's all renew our commitment to 50 more years of opportunity for our nation's most vulnerable children.

Ed Williams

Philadelphia

A thug's life

After reading "Letters: No backing off: 'Thugs' indeed what they are," I do not fully agree with what Dan Thomasson is saying. Although, I do partially agree and this is why. At the beginning of the article, Thomasson says, "Thugs come in all hues - white, brown, black and in between. They even come in police uniforms. Thugs can be found everywhere." I agree with this statement because some people believe that a thug is a specific race or gender, but in reality they are very diverse.

I also agree with Thomasson's statement that the mayor of Baltimore's statement was correct in the first place that the citizens who trashed Baltimore were thugs because they destroyed things that weren't theirs.

Although, I do not agree with what Thomasson said about the six cops and how they are also thugs because their decision may not have been the best to kill Freddie Gray, but the police officers were defending themselves from Gray. Therefore, I agree that the citizens in Baltimore who are trashing their city are thugs, but I applaud the peaceful protesters who voice their opinion without demonstrating bad behavior and violence.

Ethan Datz

Student,

New Hope-Solebury High School

Signature cause

The teaching of handwriting in elementary school is an essential tool for learning both to read and to write. As letters and words are physically formed through the act of writing, they are fixed in the brain, and if that process is accompanied with sounding out the word, it is seldom lost.

To be an efficient learner a child must utilize all the senses and writing utilizes all the senses, sight, sound and tactile action of writing itself. Handwriting should remain an integral part of early learning in school as it reinforces the other mental processes needed to learn to read.

Nancy F. Donaldson

Newtown Square

Published