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Setting an example

The media – especially when we’re immersed in it – can breed subtle changes in the way we think about some subjects.Take young people, for example, and think about what types of newspaper articles touch on children and teenagers in the community. Certainly, the stories that highlight their achievements give us a more positive picture than the ones that mention young people in connection with pranks, petty crime or insurance rates – which in turn probably do less damage than the comics pages stereotyping teenagers as shiftless, inscrutable beings with questionable taste in music.Regardless, it sets a pattern where even achievement becomes easy to classify and quantify: honor rolls, yards per carry, community service awards and standardized tests. So when teenagers wake us from our stupor by demonstrating how much they have going on upstairs, sometimes it’s worth taking another look.We’ve had two such young people make news in the past couple of weeks: Stephen Stuther and Brigit Hartop.Hartop is the 18-year-old home-schooled entrepreneur who plans to offer clogging lessons every Monday through the studio she’s opening, the Rocky Mountain Dance Company. Stuther gave up football practice and the comforts of home to return to Florida to help his best friend clean up after Hurricane Charley.And it’s clear neither is doing it for attention, money or their permanent records. Hartop says she’s inspired by a genuine love of life. Stuther didn’t even want his mother to tell anyone that he had gone to Florida.One thing we are aware of is that these two young people are merely the tip of the iceberg; we realize that there are more teenagers in Glenwood Springs than these two doing outstanding things, but they’re prime examples of what young people can – and do – accomplish.One thing we are aware of is that these two young people are merely the tip of the iceberg; we realize that there are more teenagers in Glenwood Springs than these two doing outstanding things, but they’re prime examples of what young people can – and do – accomplish.


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