Two articles were recently published about Richmond Hill High School’s Odyssey of the Mind: one in the Bryan County News and one in the Bryan County Now, which is published by the Savannah News. This is a wonderful program and one can’t help but be excited for the teenagers who are involved. They have worked hard, practiced hard, enjoyed the camaraderie of their fellow classmates and they have succeeded. These children beat the best that Country Day, Savannah Arts Academy and other schools had to offer and they’re headed for the state competition in Columbus, Georgia. Congratulations to all on a job well done!
I had to pause, however, after reading the article that was written by Allison Bennett Dyche of the Bryan County Now. She quoted the program coordinator as stating that "I want to make it clear that our goal is to go, and win, at the world tournament in Michigan." You can just imagine my immediate concern. Will this trip be made possible? The Board would not allow the High School band to accept an invitation to perform in Washington, D.C. so why on earth are we to expect that they will allow these students to travel to Michigan? Will this wonderful teacher lose his job also if he decides to "take on the Board?"
What are we teaching our children when they aspire to greatness and we oppress them? What do we teach our children when we motivate them only to hold them back and get rid of the instructors that motivated them in the first place? Will the system continue to tell them to "be all you can be" as long as it’s not higher than the Board wants you to go, or will the new Board see the error of the old Board’s ways and make a justifiable change in its judgments?
As much as I am sad that the band was not allowed to accept the invitation to Washington, D.C., I would love to see Odyssey of the Mind go to Michigan. These teenagers have earned that right. We tell these children to work hard and aim high, stay out of trouble, keep off the streets and do something productive only to have their hopes dashed by a few who have no guts; a few who have not learned from their past indiscretions but continue to make bad judgments; a few who run scared on the advice of another running scared. It’s time for the Board to incorporate the saying, "NO GUTS, NO GLORY" and do the right thing.
If these members of Odyssey of the Mind teenagers win in Columbus, the Board of Education should LET THEM GO to Michigan. Is that fair to the band members? No, but one mistake should not dictate another. I will be praying these teens win in Columbus.
I hope you will do the same.