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Don’t cut an important role model

May 14, 2012
By Samantha Williams

To whomever it may concern:

My name is Samantha Williams and I am writing this letter regarding Mrs. Latourelle's position. I have heard that it has been cut from the budget and she will be losing her position. I personally believe that Mrs. Latourelle's position is extremely important to the school and that by cutting her position, you will be losing an incredible asset to the school.

Without Mrs. Latourelle, the school's drug, tobacco and alcohol use will go up. Students will be losing a person they feel comfortable talking to about personal problems. You will see more students shut down and not talk to anyone, as well as you will see students drop out because they don't have the role model they need to encourage them to keep going. I believe you will be losing an asset to the school by cutting her position.

In the high school, Mrs. Latourelle is in charge of prevention education. This program teaches incoming freshman about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and drug use, and what to do if you encounter these problems with friends and/or family. In Bloomingdale, she was in charge of the Too Good for Drugs program and Girl Power. Too Good for Drugs is a program to teach younger children about drugs, tobacco and alcohol so that they will know not to use these substances in the future. Girl Power is a program that helps young girls gain self-esteem. If you cut her position, substance abuse in the high school and younger grades will go up. The students with have no one to talk to about these particular issues. The number of students who drop out will increase as well, due to the fact that Mrs. Latourelle will no longer be there to be a role model to them and encourage them to continue school and be the best that they can be. Is this really what you want for the student of the Saranac Lake High School and the surrounding school?

I am a recent graduate of the Saranac Lake Central School District, and I would like to inform you of my experiences with Mrs. Latourelle. As a freshman in the high school, I had my friends from middle school to hang out with, but I was looking to meet new people. At the ice cream social the school puts on every year, with all of the clubs there for the incoming students to see, I discovered SADD (Student Against Destructive Decisions). This is when I first met Mrs. Latourelle.

I finally found a club that I was passionate about and could get involved with the community. Through Mrs. Latourelle I got to participate in Project Sticker Shock, the After Prom Party and Lights on for Life, the Out of the Darkness Walk, No Phone Zone and public service announcements. Through each of these events we taught students and people in the community about recent issues involving drugs, tobacco and alcohol products and their influence on students and community members. If you cut her position, other students will not be able to embrace the concepts and lessons given by participating in these life changing events. In cutting her position, there would no longer be an After Prom Party put on by Mrs. Latourelle and her hard-working students in SADD. The act of eliminating the After Prom Party will push students to go out partying, leading to an increase in alcohol- and/or drug-related accidents, mishaps and possibly death. Mrs. Latourelle's position may seem like a harmless one to cut from the school district, but she has a much larger impact than people may realize; she saves young adults from making decisions that could negatively affect their future.

Besides her amazing impact on all of the students in the high school and in the community, there are no words that could ever describe the help she provides. Whenever I needed someone to talk to because I was having a bad day or just needed to talk, she was always there for me. Do you really want to take this away from your students? I have talked to many students who are still currently in the high school or who have graduated who have said they don't know what they would do without Mrs. Latourelle. She is one of the most helpful, amazing counselors I have personally met. I can honestly say that the path I am on today and the knowledge acquired through Mrs. Latourelle's programs have made me an exceptional student and individual. Personally, I have no idea how I would have gotten through school without her smiling face and helpfulness.

I hope this letter shows you just how important Mrs. Latourelle is to her students and community members and you will reconsider cutting her position. I am also willing to make an appearance and go into further detail on just how important she is to her students. Again there are no words to express how important she is to everyone she has counseled and interacted with. I, for one, don't know how I would have made it through high school without her.

Thank you for taking the time to read and reconsider cutting Mrs. Latourelle's position as a substance abuse counselor in the Saranac Lake Central School District.


Samantha Williams lives in Saranac Lake and is a member of the SLHS Class of 2011.



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