Righting a wrong and recognizing students

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 3, 2006

After receiving phone calls from two parents who have, or know a child who will be going to China for the People to People Ambassador program, I realize that I own an apology to about eight additional students from the Suffolk area who I have now learned have also won the privilege to travel to that country later this month.

When I wrote a story in the

Wednesday, April 26 publication about Quinton Artis, a student from Lakeland, being the only student in this area to win the trip and his family and friends’ desires to help raise money for the trip, I opened up a whole can of worms. I took the interviewee’s word and didn’t take the time to check the story out. Since I opened up the can of worms, I will take full responsibility to now put a lid on it and to give all students their just do.

Email newsletter signup

In order to do this, I am willing to go beyond my quota for the month of May and print additional stories. However, if an article is brought before me in the future that may be controversial, that I may not have the time to check out, I may have to refer you to a full-time reporter.

I need to make one thing very clear. After talking to one of those parents about the article concerning Artis, neither I nor the News-Herald, is raising funds for these students. The story that I printed clearly stated that the money was being raised by friends and family members.

Since I want to get this matter resolved as soon as possible, and to at least give the other students going an equal opportunity to be recognized, one of the parents that I talked to Monday agreed to work with me to find out who the other students are, because this is a program that was not offered through the schools. Her statement was true, because I spent most of Monday morning calling area high schools only to find out that guidance counselors, the ones usually familiar with school trips, were unaware, or did not know, who may be going from their schools. One counselor even suggested that it would be a good idea to ask for students to make themselves known through one of my columns, so, I am now asking anyone reading this article who may have a child, or know someone who has a child who will travel to China for the People to People Ambassador Program, to call me at 934-9615 and leave the child’s name, the school he or she attends, or where I can contact you if I desire more information.

I have tried to do my part, now the rest is up to you.

Congratulations to you all.

The People to People Ambassador Program sprang into existence through our 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, when he sought a new path to international understanding and developed People to People to be the vehicle on that path.

President Eisenhower believed that ordinary citizens of different nations, if able to communicate directly, would solve their differences and find a way to live in peace. This simple thought that people can make the difference where government cannot—is People to People’s foundation.

To learn more about the People to People Ambassador Program you may call 1-877-787-2000 or go on the Web site at-http://www.studentambassadors.org/

Before taking a trip abroad, and to put your mind at ease, it would also be good to go on the Web site to the Bureau of Consular Affairs to get information on the topic “A Safe Trip Abroad.”

Go to http://www.state.gov/ or http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1180.html

Wall is a former News-Herald reporter and regular contributor to the Town Square Page.