Shelter Island Reporter Editorials

COURTESY PHOTO | The 2rs4Fun team of mentors and writers.
COURTESY PHOTO | The 2rs4Fun team of mentors and writers.

Freeing young imaginations
The venerated yardstick to measure a society’s worth is how it treats its oldest and youngest residents.

Shelter Island can take a bow on caring for the latter, educating young people in a proper, formal fashion by dedicated teachers and administrators providing practical knowledge and problem-solving skills.

But in addition, an indefatigable core of volunteers has taken on the job of caring for and feeding their imaginations.

The writing program for youngsters, 2Rs4Fun, created by Island resident and former teacher Mary Dwyer in 2008, has just produced its latest book of writing selections by 3rd and 4th graders. Twelve adults, with another 18 as backup, mentor the young Hemingways and Austens, guiding the writers in their efforts and helping them craft their gifts into prose.

The Shelter Island Educational Foundation has been generous with funds for the program and the Shelter Island Public Library has given the writers and mentors a home.

To Ms. Dwyer, the writers and mentors, congratulations for this essential service.

Two public servants who will be missed
Two of Shelter Island’s Board of Education members announced this week they won’t be seeking re-election in May.

Dr. Stephen Gessner and Marilyn Pysher are leaving big shoes to fill.

Both came to the school board with long histories of being involved in education. Dr. Gessner, an educational consultant by profession, has provided a steady hand as board president for four years and served a total of six years. His quiet, intelligent demeanor has set a tone for the seven-member board to freely speak their minds, but never with rancor or personal attacks.

Instead, there’s been a healthy dialogue among members, each dedicated to finding the right balance between students’ educational opportunities and the community’s ability to pay for what is needed.

Ms. Pysher, a long-time leader of Shelter Island Communities That Care, has approached her work as a board member with an important agenda — to provide students with emotional and social support services that would free their minds from focusing on drugs, alcohol and other personal or family problems.

Her parting effort has been to lead a successful campaign to share the school’s social worker with the town so that problems could be addressed from various vantages.

We wish both of these excellent public servants well and hope their dedicated service will set the tone for those who follow in their footsteps.