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Letters: Students have a willingness to succeed

To the Editor:

This is a rebuttal to Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald’s column, “Enough is Enough: College material, hospital debt and welfare expansion.”

Enough is enough with the negativity in the City of Lewiston.

The mayor writes that there is pressure on students to attend and graduate college. I don’t call it pressure at all. Instead, I believe students have a willingness to succeed and live a better life than their parents did.

Macdonald asserted that “many who falter academically excel in trades, such as automotive, woodworking, sheet metal and, in case you’ve been away from the area for a few years, an extremely renowned culinary arts program.”

The mayor is terribly misinformed and clearly did not do his homework before writing his column. In fact, his column had so many errors, I felt I had to step forward and correct his errors and misrepresentations.

First, his implication that the Lewiston Regional Technical Center is nothing more than a dumping ground for students who can’t succeed academically is absolutely false. I didn’t falter academically. I graduated from Lewiston High School in 2011 with a 90.12 accumulative GPA, was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society and the National Honor Society, as were one-half of my peers.

Macdonald points out that The Green Ladle sends more of its students to the world renowned “New York Institute of Culinary Arts” than any school in the country. Again Macdonald is wrong: there is no such thing as the “New York Institute of Culinary Arts.” I assume he is referring to my alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America, the world’s premier culinary college, or what we Culinarians call it, “The Harvard of Culinary schools.”

Mayor Macdonald, if you’re going to state something as fact, you owe it to the readers to do your homework. It wouldn’t take a whole lot of research to get the correct name of the school.

After succeeding in LRTC’s Culinary Program, with all “A’s” I went on to higher education at the Culinary Institute of America, where I graduated with a 3.04 GPA. Sorry to burst your bubble, Mayor Macdonald, but your theory of “Many who falter academically in the trades” once again is wrong.

The LRTC programs are rigorous and relevant and prepare our students for entry into some of this nation’s highly acclaimed colleges or directly into the world of work. Your mindset is stuck in a backward era. The LRTC programs are not a dumping ground as you claim, where students are relegated to minimum wage jobs with no benefits, such as Walmart and others offer. The Lewiston Regional Technical Center is not what you might call, “shop.” That viewpoint is as antiquated as your outlook on education is as a whole.

As for my graduating counterparts at LHS in the class of 2011, we had one of the highest cumulative grade point averages as a class that Lewiston had ever seen. More than half of that class went on to a college or university.

The students that “faltered academically” in our technical programs went on to prestigious schools, such as Boston University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Bates College. That is not failure, but the desire to succeed at a higher level. It is about offering programs that meet students’ and employers’ needs for the future.

You had an opportunity to move away from your chronic negativity and show something positive in our community. Unfortunately with the factual errors, misrepresentations, and mischaracterizations, you failed.

Jordan C.D. Handy

Lewiston

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