The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 13, 2009


What every CCHS parent should know

Parents have a major responsibility for helping teens learn to make wise decisions and should have a clear picture of the risky choices being made by teens in this community. While most kids at the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) successfully navigate the stresses and temptations of high school, a look at the report on the 2008 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reveals troubling statistics. Too many students admitted to behavior which can have very serious consequences – riding with a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol (38% in grade 12 in the past month); experiencing dating violence (9% in grade 12); injuring him or herself on purpose (17% in grade 9 in the past year); seriously considering suicide (14% in grades 9 and 11 in the past year); attempting suicide (6% in grade 9); binge drinking (43% in grade 12 in the past month); and the list goes on.

Are these numbers real? In all likelihood the data is fairly accurate, because the responses are similar over large samples of students from several area schools, as well as from students across the state. While in most categories CCHS students exhibit less risky behavior than the statewide averages, one should not relax just because a problem is even worse somewhere else.

What can the adults in the community do to help? Concord K-12 Health Coordinator Kathy Bowen notes that the high school uses the survey results to identify trends and seek ways to help “fortify” teens against risky behavior choices. She also said the data is shared with students during health instruction in ninth and eleventh grades. These measures are worthwhile, but the full report should also be read by parents.

Parents need to be aware of the scope of the problems CCHS teens are encountering, in order to better help them cope successfully with the stresses of high school. To download a copy of the report, scroll to the bottom of the page at: ∆


A Valentine for Carlisle

For most of us, Valentine’s Day represents a celebration of romance with a surfeit of red, pink, candy, flowers and candlelit dinners. It all started, apparently, with a feast day to commemorate a martyred saint of the Catholic Church, a priest who married Christian couples in secret in the Rome ruled by Emperor Claudius, a priest who apparently tried unsuccessfully to convert the emperor to Christianity and who ultimately paid the full price for his efforts. Before his horrific execution, Valentinus (later St. Valentine) was said variously to fall in love with and to restore the sight and hearing of his jailer’s daughter. Kind of a nice guy, if all the stories are true, and certainly a man of compassion and principle in the worst of times.

The day we celebrate today owes a great deal to the legend of the original Valentinus. We still use the day to honor wedlock and various other romantic relationships. We still try to do nice things for those we love, including our friends. And there are a lot of nice people, good friends, in Carlisle.

Recently I attended a funeral here, and the demonstration of sympathy and celebration that occurred on that day was very poignant. Friends gathered to comfort the family who lost their loved one and, feeling that the loss belonged to all, to comfort each other too. They also came to celebrate that lost life and life in general.

That night I went to the annual Friends of Gleason Public Library community potluck. It, too, was a gathering of friends, brought together on an icy winter’s night to appreciate warmth, good food, and each other’s company. In the years that I have lived here, I have attended community events large and small, participated in community politics and school activities, worked on the Mosquito, hauled my trash to the Transfer Station. I have attended parties in people’s homes, worked with them on community projects, networked with them professionally.

In all these places, I have found real friends. People in this town seem to know the how-to’s of real friendship. Perhaps this has something to do with living in a small town: we all seem to recognize each other before we have even exchanged names because we intersect with each other around town, so we have a head start on friendship unavailable to larger communities. People here are busy, but they make the effort to do things for each other, and they really seem to enjoy working through challenges and spending time together. Nice folks, and certainly people of compassion and principle in the worst of times.

We’re all trying to maneuver through rough times this winter and keep up hope. As a community, we face some hard decisions with regard to our buildings and services, and we are experiencing added economic challenges in our private lives. If ever we have needed the spirit of Valentine’s Day, it is now. So, from the heart: I am truly grateful for the friendship I enjoy here in Carlisle. I hope I can be as good a friend as those I know are to me. And I hope the very same for those friends I have not yet met. Happy Valentine’s Day, Carlisle.



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