OUR VIEW: Good news all the way around

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Good news on the front

Two photos appear above the fold in today’s newspaper. One is an iconic depiction of youngsters who may feel they have nowhere to turn. The other is of a proud 11-year-old from Bourg who is one of Louisiana’s students of the year.

One appears to tell of good news, the other bad news.

But the stories connected to each are positive and cause for celebration.

Rhett Williams, the boy with the trophy in his hand, exemplifies what young people can accomplish right here in our local parishes. His story is one of inspiration and shows how parents, educators, neighbors and siblings can all contribute to success.

Terrebonne Parish and Louisiana as a whole are bursting with pride on behalf of Rhett, and so are we. His is a success story that is a pleasure to tell.

The other story on the top of the fold has less of a warm and fuzzy beginning. It is about how a major step has been taken to reform our local juvenile justice system, by diverting children from Terrebonne’s Juvenile Detention Center when possible. The new program, called SPARC, will direct children to a variety of services that can help keep little problems from becoming big ones.

In today’s world, activities that at one time might have earned youngsters a spanking or grounding are resulting in their jailing.

SPARC will help ensure that only the most serious juvenile offenders end up in detention, or those to whom alternatives have been offered but ended up rejecting the break.

Not every child can be a Louisiana Student of the Year. Most of our children will never achieve such an honor.

But every child deserves the chance to not let a simple mistake send their lives on a downward spiral, diminishing their ability in the long run to be the very best they can be.

So this week, our front page offers the story of a young man who has worked incredibly hard at being a good citizen, good son and good student. And it offers also a story of how adults, gathered as a loving village, are doing what they can to make sure that more children will have an unbridled chance to do the same.

To us that’s pretty good news all the way around.