The media are sometimes accused of focusing only on the bad kids who get in trouble with the law or with school authorities, ignoring the good kids doing good things for their schools and community.
So we want to call your attention to some stories in today's Gazette about some local teens who deserve recognition for their accomplishments.
Let's start with Steve Quimby, a junior at Whittier Regional High School who is building a career for himself brick by brick, literally.
Quimby last month won a gold medal in a competition against other young masons from vocational schools around the state, building a 4-by-3-foot wall to exacting standards. The victory earned him a trip to a national competition next month in Kansas City. Quimby, an Amesbury resident, is also demonstrating his masonry skills at Whittier, building a wall for a baseball dugout and helping to build a ramp for the handicapped, among other things.
"He's a special student," masonry teacher Ray Morneau told reporter Alex Lippa. (See story on Page 1.) "He's really driven. Anything you tell him to do, he'll do. He just jumps all over it. He's a pleasure to work with.''
Two other Whittier students — Emiliano Rodriguez and Andrew Slejzer — are also Kansas City-bound after teaming up to win silver in 3D Design Visual and Animation at the statewide SkillsUSA competition.
Also winning kudos in a statewide contest: Brett Johnson of Haverhill. She finished second in the vocal category at the Massachusetts State Granger Talent Contest and third in the Public Speaking Contest last month in Bolyston. (See story on Page 2.)
Then there's Nathaniel Vazquez, the Haverhill High lacrosse star who is bidding to repeat at the MVP in Division 2 of the Merrimack Valley Conference and is profiled in today's sports pages.
He has helped lead the Hillies to a 7-2 record at the season's midpoint after two straight losing seasons for the Haverhill team. Vazquez, who has been playing lacrosse since the third grade and plans to keep on playing at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., has already put up 25 goals halfway through the season, compared to 38 at the same point last year.
Finally, meet Haverhill High students Lyndsey Grundy and Joe Sherlock.
Last week, they argued the opposing sides in mock oral arguments before real-life judges Stephen Abany and Patricia Dowling as part of the Haverhill Bar Association's annual Law Day observance at Haverhill District Court. (See story on Page 1.)
The case involved California's contentious Proposition 8 ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, which may eventually be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Grundy and Sherlock, seniors in Robert Pike's constitutional law class, chose the subject for the mock arguments themselves.
"We've been involved in Law Day before," said Pike after last Friday's presentation. "But we've never played as big a role as we have today."
There you have it: Seven local teens earning recognition for an impressive array of intellectual, manual and athletic skills
So if you see Steve, Emiliano, Andrew, Brett, Nathaniel, Lyndsey or Joe around town, congratulate them.
Good kids doing good things.