From the Editor: Bright young people offer bright ideas

The Daily Review/Bill Decker
Morgan City High students present their plans for the city's dog park at the 2016 New Generation event.

By BILL DECKER bdecker @daily-review.com

Schools, public and private, are an especially precious asset in St. Mary Parish.
That’s true not only for parents. The asset is just as valuable if you have a home you’d like to sell or if you’ll need employees for the business you want to start.
You pay school taxes either way, so it’s good to know you’re getting some performance for your money.
The public schools, for example, rank near the top 20 percent among Louisiana districts. That’s in a parish where nearly eight students in 10 are rated as economically disadvantaged, a situation that puts all sorts of obstacles between young people and academic achievement.
The 2015-16 district performance score, part of the state assessment system, was 99.2, only 0.8 points below the level needed to be an A district.
Maybe the school performance explains why St. Mary seems to have so many smart kids. Or is it the smart kids who make the district better?
Chicken, meet egg.
Anyway, if you’re open to being impressed by St. Mary young people, a couple of opportunities are coming up.
One is a senior-teenager mixer, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Berwick Civic Center.
According to a press release from Berwick Town Council member Jacki Ackel, this event started last year when a group of Berwick High students initiated a concept of “shared learning.”
“The students wanted to glean from senior citizens wisdom about life, work and character,” Ackel wrote. “In turn, the students desired to share their knowledge of today’s technology and ways of life that might aid a senior citizen.”
The public is invited.
The Berwick High students presented their ideas at the Morgan City Rotary Club’s annual New Generation forum last year.
“Leaders from the Town of Berwick embraced the idea and elected to sponsor and promote it,” Ackel wrote. “The St. Mary Parish Council on Aging also quickly embraced the idea and even provided transportation to the meetings.”
That’s not the only idea to come out of the New Generation events, at which teams from all the parish high schools are invited to participate.
Also at the 2016 New Generation event, Central Catholic students suggested more accessible public receptacles for recycling. Their wish was fulfilled within a few days.
The 2015 team from Morgan City High proposed a dog park and came armed with plans. The school’s 2016 team came back with plans for amenities. The park opened Sept. 1.
This year’s New Generation event will be at 6 p.m. March 22 at Morgan City High School. If you want to feel good about the future, it’s a good place to start.
Bill Decker is managing editor of The Daily Review.

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