Letters to the Editor for May 11, 2017

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category icon Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Newspapers should bring suicide-by-gun ‘epidemic’ into light

You recently wrote an article regarding the sensitive issue of suicides and (why) they’re not being covered in the newspaper. It is especially difficult when the person who died is young.

I agree with much of what you wrote. But perhaps there is another way to consider this issue. I am a trauma nurse by background; the violence caused by guns, especially suicides, is horrific.

In our state, three people commit suicide every day, with a total of over 1,000 each year. In fact, our state has one of the highest suicide rates in the country.

Over half of these are committed with a gun. Sadly, some of these suicides are committed by young people, under the age of 20. Both Clark County and Skamania County rank higher in suicides than the average counties in Washington. North Clark County has had a very high incidence of youth suicides, often by gun.

Yet, as a fairly new resident to Clark County, I rarely read about this tragic “epidemic.” One has to be plugged into the school district or have a child in school to know about these incidents, as they often do not make the paper.

Perhaps newspapers need to consider HOW to report on such a sensitive, painful subject in a way that brings the problem into the light. A community can not “fix” a tragic problem it does not even know it has. The newspaper can play a key role in teaching, informing, raising awareness and helping to potentially solve this complex issue.

Joanne Pinelli, Camas

Mother thanks math teacher for helping boost daughter’s confidence, skill level

National Teacher Appreciation week is May 8-12. I write to honor Renee Mongeau, my daughter Sheridan’s algebra teacher at Insight School of Washington (ISWA).

Sheridan began ISWA in January after previously attending our local brick-and-mortar school. Due to an overabundance of students at the high school, we felt that it wasn’t the best match for Sheridan’s learning style. We turned to an online virtual school program and knew things were about to change for the better as soon as Sheridan attended Mrs. Mongeau’s orientation.

Mrs. Mongeau is so kind and patient, and she ensures that each student understands the content before moving forward. She is down-to-earth and has a great rapport with her students. Her students respect her, and she is able to hold them to task if they start getting sidetracked in the chat room. She truly is an amazing teacher!

In an age where everything is “rush, rush, rush,” Mrs. Mongeau always maintains a calm personality. She is always patient, never rushing any of her students. I am sometimes in the room when Sheridan is in her math class connect sessions, and I have never heard Mrs. Mongeau in a bad mood or heard her become impatient with the students.

I have to especially thank Mrs. Mongeau for helping Sheridan’s future. She may not know it, but since math builds upon concepts, Mrs. Mongeau has given my daughter a gift that will help her for years to come.

Before being in Mrs. Mongeau’s class, Sheridan always hated math. She was constantly overwhelmed with the standardized testing format. She would learn the information for the tests, but retention of that information never happened.

Mrs. Mongeau teaches math concepts in a fun way, and she has created a very relaxed atmosphere. She is also very encouraging and provides a safe environment for making mistakes, which in turn has helped Sheridan grasp the information. She has made my daughter confident in her math abilities for the first time ever!

Sheridan now never becomes discouraged when looking at algebra problems. She knows that if she doesn’t understand a certain concept, she can attend Mrs. Mongeau’s help sessions. Mrs. Mongeau is always willing to help until her students understand the information. This has made my daughter so much happier and less stressed out by math.

Sheridan has even said that for the first time in her life, a math teacher finally “makes math make sense.” As an artist, Sheridan is a visual learner. Mrs. Mongeau is very good at using illustrations to make sense of the math concept.

On top of Sheridan’s newfound math success, Mrs. Mongeau is teaching my daughter great life skills, such as being kind to others, being respectful, having fun, being patient and most importantly, having confidence–you can figure anything out if you take time and have patience!

I encourage everyone to support a parent’s choice in their child’s education. A virtual school program has been so influential in Sheridan’s success.

We are extremely thankful that it has provided an amazing math teacher like Mrs. Mongeau, someone who instills confidence, perseverance, and character in my daughter!

Shirley Mosley, Camas

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