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Your Views: Jenrette family grateful for community's support
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My wife and I would like to use the pages of your newspaper to express our sincere appreciation to the wonderful people of Gainesville and Hall County for their outpouring of sympathy and respect and many kindnesses shown for our son, Maj. Kevin M. Jenrette, and his family during his final trip home and burial in the church cemetery at Timber Ridge Baptist Church.

We are most grateful for the old and young who stood for long periods of time along the streets from the airport to Memorial Park Funeral Home and two days later from the funeral home to Timber Ridge Baptist Church to pay their respects to Kevin. Such an outpouring of patriotism and respect for a fallen soldier was indeed a heartwarming experience for us.

The American flags, both small and large, held proudly by many and flying from the cycles of the Patriot Riders, the sympathetic faces, the heads bowed and hands over the heart, the fire department personnel and sheriff's deputies' salutes hold special memories for us as we continue to deal with the tragic loss of our son.

Afghanistan and Iraq are a long way from Gainesville, Ga., and we sometimes let the war rage on without thinking much about it as we go about our daily lives. How quickly our lives can change forever as the horror of war comes so close to home.

Kevin's lovely wife and beautiful children, as well as his mother and I, are now painfully aware of the sacrifice that those serving in faraway lands are making to ensure that we can live in peace and liberty. Our hope is that Kevin's death will be a reminder of that sacrifice and that as a people, we will honor not only those who have fallen, but those whose lives are in danger today. Please join us as we pray for their safe return to their families.

Kevin was a devout Christian and we know that he is now in a better place and that in time, we will be reunited. Thank you citizens of Hall County; you have helped us bear what otherwise would be unbearable.

Col. (retired) and Mrs. Bill Jenrette
Auburn, Ala.

Nothing ‘lackluster' about students, faculty at Johnson High School
When I read Ms. Jordan's article "Boundary Wars" in which "lackluster" was used to describe the school at which I have taught since its doors opened, I was saddened.

If "lackluster" is the perception of the athletic program, the community will not find a more dedicated coaching staff than the men and women who coach at Johnson. They commit time and effort in coaching students who may not be the area's most talented athletes. No, Johnson doesn't win every athletic contest, but our teams are competitive, and often, they will win.

If "lackluster" is the perception of academics at Johnson, let me correct that notion. Our technical education students excel in regional and national competitions, as do students who compete in academic venues. Our fine arts programs also shine in regional competitions.

On the writing test, Johnson students were equaled only by Chestatee High School in having the highest percentage of students passing the test. No other high school in the county scored higher on the social studies graduation test than did Johnson. We don't consider that "lackluster." Do we have areas where we need to improve? Of course, and we are determined to make those improvements.

Dr. Damon Gibbs and a group of supportive administrators lead JHS. Bright, young teachers bring a fresh perspective to our faculty while knowledgeable veteran teachers bring a wealth of experience. On Aug. 10, we will not be standing at the doorway thinking of our school, ourselves, and our students as "lackluster."

Mr. Frank Knight, a longtime Board of Education member and the man for whom Knight Gym was named, once reminded teachers that parents send schools the best that they have: their children. Johnson parents send us their best trusting that we will provide an education that will enable their children to grow into productive adults. Like every other Hall County and Gainesville city faculty, we take that responsibility very seriously.

A lot has changed since I began my teaching career. In the old days, students were actively involved in local high schools because they had few choices about after-school activities. That is no longer true. Today, students have many choices about how they spend their time, and there is much that competes with school.

Some things don't change, however. Johnson High School is still a place where students can expect an opportunity for involvement in strong extracurricular activities, a sound educational foundation, and a faculty that will not flag in its efforts to provide excellence.

Lackluster? No, I don't think so.

Jane Kesler
Gainesville

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