Your Letters: July 17

9:45 PM, Jul. 16, 2013  |  Comments
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Leadership class endorses SOAR

On June 18, the 23rd class of Leadership Door County completed a 10-month immersion into the many facets of the Door County community, its economy, history and culture.

Leadership Door County's mission is to bring together community members who have diverse viewpoints to become stronger leaders and to understand community issues through experiential education. Each class is expected to develop and complete a project that will benefit the Door County community.

As part of Leadership Door County's ongoing curriculum, its participants tour the county, visit organizations and businesses representing all sectors of the economy, and observe the inner workings of the county. After our Leadership Door County (LDC) class visited with dozens of community leaders and learned about several key community issues, we chose to partner with the leaders of SOAR, Southern Door High School's Student Opportunity for an Alternative to Regular Education.

This program - and the impact it is having on Southern Door High School students - is deserving of our community's recognition and support. SOAR offers an alternative high school education environment for students who are considered "at risk" of not graduating and completing coursework.

SOAR students are often invited to the program after facing a serious challenge such as family crises, medical or personal issues, failing grades or truancy. Since 2008, SOAR has assisted 45 students in graduation, maintaining a 100 percent graduation rate and a 90 percent class completion rate. Prior to the start of SOAR, "at-risk" students had a 57 percent class completion rate.

In addition to being impressed by SOAR's results, our class was particularly inspired by the work of SOAR coordinator Josh Rankin and the support demonstrated by Southern Door High School Principal Steve Bousley and Superintendent Patricia Vickman. In conversations with these program leaders, we learned of their dreams to strengthen the program through the implementation of work readiness training and mentoring opportunities for SOAR students.

Programs like SOAR support healthy decisions and can assist in breaking cycles of substance abuse, incarceration and poverty, a sentiment shared and echoed by several members of local law enforcement and social service professionals. Additionally, work readiness training is of benefit not only to the participating students, it's also good for Door County.

Individuals interested in learning more about SOAR and their ongoing needs are encouraged to contact SOAR's program coordinator, Josh Rankin at Our class applauds the efforts of the SOAR team and wishes the SOAR 2013 graduates all the best.

Leadership Door County Class of 2013

Dina Boettcher, Donna De Nardo,

Adam Gingery, Gretel Goettelman,

Tricia Hanson, Cari Lewis, Sara

McKillop, Ann Vander Missen,

Christy Wisniewski

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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