Suffolk teens set high standards

Published 8:26 pm Monday, December 22, 2014

It’s not news that teenagers often get a bad rap.

Sitcoms are wont to portray them as moody, conceited individuals forever searching for the perfect comeback.

Some — those involved in gangs, for instance — deserve the disdain. But many teenagers out there are setting an example that any adult would be wise to follow.

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I’ve chanced across many of them in the past couple of weeks.

One is Anne Spady, a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy student who has just published her first book and has a second one in the works.

Not only did Anne have the creativity and perseverance to finish the project, she set up her own publishing company.

Though she wants to become a career novelist, and I have no reason to doubt that she will, if life takes her down a different path, it’s tremendous that Anne will have this early experience to look back upon. Maybe she will tell grandchildren about it one day.

Another noteworthy teen I recently crossed paths with is Lakeland High School’s Tori Rountree. Tori is a firm believer in recycling and won a Suffolk Clean Community Commission contest to design the paint scheme for a recycling can that will introduce recycling at Lake Meade Park.

When folks at the park see Tori’s design, which incorporates a plant-sprouting Earth held between a pair of hands, they’ll instantly know what the can is intended for.

The other teen I want to specifically mention is Luke Denoncourt. The Windsor High School freshman envisages perhaps embarking on a career in politics one day, and he was accepted to serve as a page in the House of Delegates during the 2015 session of the Virginia General Assembly.

Politicians are another group of individuals that often gets a bad rap — often for the same reasons as teenagers, as cited above — but we need them.

More to the point, we need good, honest ones, and Luke gave every impression he would fit that bill.

In recent weeks, previewing high school holiday season drama productions has also revealed to me some of the positive things teenagers bring to society’s table.

These rehearsals are always full of creative, articulate young people giving back by bringing homegrown entertainment to the public.

I hope anyone who sat in the audience for Nansemond River High School’s “Cinderella” and/or King’s Fork High School’s “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” would agree.