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Measurement of a little sister’s potential

By Mark Stinson
Posted Friday, March 10, 2006

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Some of Chatham County’s greatest potential assets are realized through our children. I don’t like the fact certain guidance counselors think they can judge a child's potential to make their future far more complicated or pave an easy pathway to college just because they had a whim of like or dislike toward that child. Being in a person's chosen few shouldn’t determine the direction a child takes toward their adult career path. In my time I have encountered people with limited intelligence or physical disabilities that went far with their education due to their undying determination and desire to succeed. It’s these people that truly have great potential and are valuable assets to our county and society.

Someone’s little sister once struggled through school here getting decent grades while overcoming the disability of bad eyesight. She had a general idea of where she wanted to go in life and knew it would take a lot of hard work. She received help from great teachers at Bonlee Elementary to maintain her grades and overcome obstacles related to her eyesight. With the support of her family and teachers she made it to high school with fairly decent grades and a gift for music. She decided that she wanted to go to college for music and Meredith College was on the top of her list.

She discussed her ambitions with the high school guidance counselor who proceeded to tell her that with her limited eyesight and average grades her best course of action was to give up on college and focus on a trade of some type. This counselor stated that she would be lucky to do much more than a fast food restaurant or some type of minimal job where good eyesight wasn’t a major requirement. Most would have been discouraged and followed that advice to settle for what little they could make at a low end job or on disability. This young lady was determined she wasn’t going to settle for working at a burger joint and after a considerable amount of support from Mrs. Macintyre and other teachers at Chatham Central she kept on struggling to gain every little inch of progress she could in school .

It was her determination and deep desire to succeed that caught the attention of a certain doctor of music at Meredith College. In a very short period of time the wheels began to move and she was accepted into Meredith. She flourished at Meredith and owned and operated her own data processing business while in college. She learned management, budgeting, advertising, and other methods during that time. She struggled through her dad’s fight with cancer and eight months before her wedding he died suddenly in September of 1995.

She continued to live on campus for a year and a half but with the loss of her dad and his emotional support the financial stresses of school and a long distance marriage to a military husband forced her to take a break from school. This didn’t discourage her desire to succeed even though she was declared legally blind. She has since worked in the NC General Assembly in the Information Services Division.

She became familiar with the legislative process and infrastructure integrity issues. She served as editorial copyist consultant for Dr. Milton Laufer’s doctoral thesis project which is now historically significant. They discovered a true first edition musical score of Isaac Albeniz that had not yet been published. They translated the music into a publishable form. Dr. Milton Laufer’s edition of this score is now published in six countries and her contribution to the project is described in the commentary section of the work. She served as copyist referral for two colleges (Meredith & Peace). She has been a resident of York Pennsylvania for a little over four years. Her determination and perseverance to succeed and ability to stand her ground with her limited eyesight have won the support of some of the most influential people in that state.

With that support and encouragement she is now running for the 95th district House of Representatives in the state of Pennsylvania. Her current endeavor requires 210% of her time and efforts but she intends to complete her bachelor’s degree in music in York when her term is over or this opportunity passes. Her potential is great and the possibilities are endless where she will go from where she began right here in Chatham County.

This is proof that our greatest potential isn’t from developments or business but the educating and support of our children. Our schools are good and we have many highly qualified people in our school system now. I feel we need to support our school board and push them for continuing reforms and to replace people that don’t encourage all of our children equally.

I know many of you won’t recognize the name Karen Emenheiser but she grew up right here in Chatham County. I know her really well as she continually tells her older brother to quit playing with lightning and we all know who he is.

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