Fostering our youths’ voices

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In the last few issues of the News-Bulletin, we’ve published numerous letters written by seventh-graders who attend school at Calvary Chapel Academy.
The voice of the youth in this community is very strong, and we are glad to be a venue in which they can express their thoughts and beliefs. These letters were vast in their points of view and ideas. These students expressed their opinions on everything from the controversial hospital issue to the need for a homeless shelter to a need for better bike paths.
We are very impressed that the youth of Valencia County are well informed about what’s happening in the community, and are willing to stand up and express their views. Regardless of whether or not you agree with what they wrote about, it’s refreshing to read that there are issues our youth are concerned about.
And, regardless of state test scores or the new grading system, it shows that our students are intelligent and know how to communicate  their thoughts. It also shows us that they can think on their own and can formulate an opinion that is truly their own.
Not only do we applaud these students for their words and points of view, we also congratulate their teacher, Jenny Chavez, who assigned her class the task of writing letters to the editor. Chavez didn’t tell them what subjects to write about — just to write. She is to be commended for giving her students the ability to express what they believe, but also for giving them the opportunity to do so.
We know that there are many other youngsters in Valencia County who have similar desires to express their opinions, and we are more than happy to publish their letters as well.
So we have an assignment for all civics, history and English teachers in Valencia County: Give your students an opportunity to express themselves in a letter to the editor. Let them tell the world what they think, what concerns them and what they want to accomplish. Give them an opportunity to speak their minds and find solutions.
Even if they don’t send their letters to the newspaper, we believe it’s a great lesson about the First Amendment and their freedom.