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Jade is a bright spot

It’s all too easy nowadays to look at the youth of America and worry over the future of this great nation. With the problems of youth violence, teen pregnancy and high school dropouts, there’s plenty of tangible evidence that there’s something to worry about. Add in a growing culture of degradation and music that celebrates violence and amorality and it’s not surprising when parents and other adults express their fear over the state of the world.

But nothing is ever entirely without hope, and no generation ever should be judged as a whole based solely on those whose actions make the negative headlines each day. Students at Lakeland High School this week proved that there is more to their character than past headlines might have led folks to believe.

Showing a great deal of compassion, respect — even love — for a classmate whom stereotypes would suggest could never expect to attain the achievement, Lakeland students voted to name Jade Brown to the school’s homecoming court.

Jade is not a member of Lakeland High School’s field hockey, basketball, track or volleyball teams as were the other three queen candidates on the school’s 2010 homecoming court.

Jade couldn’t speak for herself when it came time for the nominee’s speeches at the pep rally on Friday before the homecoming game. Her sister had to deliver the speech, because Jade, a special needs student at Lakeland, can communicate only through sign language and other non-verbal means.

But she loves Lakeland High School, and students decided to do something wonderful for her by naming her to the queen’s court.

A bright spot in the darkness. There’s always hope.