Following the lead of children

Published 6:01 pm Friday, November 11, 2011

Last weekend, a group of high school students accomplished in a few hours something a number of well-educated adults have failed to achieve over the course of nearly three months.

They set a common goal, put aside any perceived differences and worked toward doing something that matters.

Meanwhile, the adults who routinely direct their community continue to be mired in one of the most ridiculous disputes in recent memory.

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The students of the Linden Youth Advisors come from both “sides” of Linden. Eight attend Marengo Academy. Eight attend Linden High School. All cared enough about Nicole Langley, whether they know her or not, to donate a Saturday to raising money to help with her medical bills.

And, make no mistake, these are not the run-of-the-mill high school students who have nothing else to do with their time. The Linden Youth Advisors are made up of the best of the best. They are academically stellar students. They are involved in a number of sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities. Their free time is precious and sparse.

Still, they were willing to donate it. In the discussion about whether or not to help Nicole, the Linden students never balked in favor of doing something to benefit Linden High School. They never talked about it being a service project to help a white girl.

When the Marengo Academy students accepted their respective positions on the Youth Advisors, they did not hesitate to do so because it meant working with black kids from the public school.

To a person, all were honored to be given the opportunity. To a person, all have worked well together and enjoyed their opportunities to serve others. Their story defies the perception that Linden is somehow divided by race.

Are there those in Linden who make race a bigger issue than it should be? Absolutely. Are those people in the majority? Absolutely not.

But, whatever the reason, the Linden City Schools Board of Education and the Linden Athletic Association have not come to an agreement to put Linden High School back on Linden Athletic Field.

The last proposal offered by the Linden Athletic Association should have been a tremendous good-faith effort toward reuniting the two entities. Sadly, it died without so much as a genuine consideration.

The saga of the Linden Patriots and Linden Athletic Field has gone on for far too long. It is full of otherwise intelligent, respectable adults whose actions and decisions have been little more than childish.

And, yet, here are the Linden Youth Advisors, who show a maturity beyond their years, a willingness to work toward the greater good that is apparently lost to many of their elders.