To the Editor:
Recent letters published by the Gazette from Messrs. Spiegel and Medico referencing Mr. Storck in the coming election reflected their extensive research in the past history of Mr. Storck and his activities as a member of the Fairfax County School Board. Both should be commended for their research and sharing the fruits of their findings. Both gentlemen have at least two similar themes related to the status of the Fairfax County schools i.e., critical of his record involving Mount Vernon Schools and the inadequate preparation of the Mount Vernon high schools to prepare the graduates for "college."
I am of the opinion "education" is the road to success in Fairfax County and the Commonwealth of Virginia and, yes, throughout the "world." The NAACP and the African American Historical Universities and Colleges have a motto that I believe is outstanding, i.e. "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." In this respect I am of the opinion that the mission/objective of all elementary and mid-level schools is to prepare young people for "high school." The mission of all high schools is to prepare the young men and women for "Life", i.e., not "only" for college. This would include not only those high school graduates seeking college degrees but also skills in various trades such as electricians, welders, sheet metal workers, plumbers, culinary occupations, medical technicians. etc. The skills that were normally provided via vocational schools years ago may be obtained today via junior colleges, e.g., NOVA. Needless to say some of these junior college graduates might decided to pursue full college degrees.
My three sons benefited from the Mount Vernon schools especially the former Fort Hunt High School. All three attended colleges and universities in Virginia and have advanced degrees. When my wife and I discussed our goals in life during our engagement prior to our marriage we agreed that we would provide our children with the best training/education no matter what career field they would choose in life. Yes, if they decided on a trade or professional future we would support them. As parents we would owe them the best education they sought. I like to believe we accomplished our objective.
Considering the dramatic changes in the demographics in Fairfax County especially in the Mount Vernon District during the past 15 years or so I believe Mr. Stork's performance has been very acceptable. New residents of the Mount Vernon area told me the "excellent school system" is the main reason they moved into the area. Mr. Storck has my vote. In fact, I believe I will also vote for Mr. Surovell.
I have to admit I am speaking/writing from my own experience. My objective in high school was to become a machinist or tool and die maker. I attended a vocational school. In the ‘40s all boys reaching 18 years of age registered for the military draft. I was drafted into the Army one month prior to my graduation. While in the Army I read about the career in industrial management. After I was discharged I took advantage of the WW II G.I. Bill of Rights and obtained my degree majoring in industrial management. Thanks to the American people. Yes, America is a great country.
Melvin R. Bielawski