The positives still outweigh the negatives

You can focus on the negative or bask in the positive. It’s true in every aspect of life, but perhaps it’s never more important than when talking about young people.

The headlines, whether ours or those belonging to other regional or state newspapers or TV news show, often alert us to the teenagers who find themselves caught in law enforcement’s snare for crimes that range from break-ins and assaults to drug abuse. It’s unfortunate that even one headline has to be that way, but news is news and reports of teen crimes are part of an accurate picture of what happens in a county, city or state.

In other words, those stories cannot be ignored. But they can be — and are in The Sampson Independent — tempered with the positive, offering the far larger picture that tells a story of the great things most 0f our young people are involved in, whether it be athletic or academic accomplishments, service-oriented achievements or efforts touted through our local churches.

While the bad news is a part of the overall picture of our community, it is a far smaller piece than the greater one that is the positives attributed to so many of our young people, teenagers, middle-schoolers and elementary kids from all walks of life and all races.

Just take a look at what’s been reported in the last 10 days alone to understand why we often say there is always far more good going on in our community than bad, and we try to paint that picture every day throughout our newspaper and on our website.

There are the three Sampson County high school students recently selected for Governor’s School, an elite program that will afford them the opportunity to grow in all disciplines whether academic or about the arts. Those students, Destiny Hobbs, Kaleb McLaurin and Samantha Sessoms have worked hard to earn the honor they’ve recently received, and their diligence has paid off.

Much the same is true of Midway High School students who recently excelled at the SkillsUSA competition held in Greensboro. Those young people competed with some 2,000 other of their peers, placing first in three categories – Engineering, Job Skills Demo and Robotics – and bringing home additional second, third and fifth place honors.

Jesse Murphy, Yamila Flores, Tori McLamb, Dawson McLamb, Cole Parker, Ricardo Lopez and Jonah Warren were among the opening and closing Midway teams who earned state honors. They are to be commended for the hard work and dedication that led to the accolade.

And then there are members of the Sampson Middle School band, seventh and eighth graders who were recently given a remarkable opportunity to be part of music history for Clinton City Schools. Those students were given the chance to work with nationally-known composer Michael Oare, who was commissioned to write a piece of music for the middle school. The piece will be performed at the spring middle school concert next week. What an honor that must have been for these middle-schoolers, all who earned the right to be a part because of their hard work and practice in the band.

The list could go on and on, detailing students in public and private schools in our city and county who are making a positive mark on their community.

While it’s true you cannot ignore the negative, and truer still that there are some young people who find themselves making poor choices that lead to disastrous consequences, there are far more good kids than bad out there, excelling on all fronts and striving to be the very best they can be for themselves, their parents and their community.

And as long as that’s the case, the negative will never outweigh the positives that happen here. And we are thankful for it.

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