HIT: Before they get their diplomas, most college and university graduates can count on hearing fairly predictable homilies on perseverance, integrity and other values they should take with them to their jobs or to graduate school. Graduates from Morehouse College in Atlanta got quite a bit more last weekend. Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith capped off his oration with a promise to pay off the student loan debt for everyone in Morehouse’s 2019 graduating class. This will free many of them from debts they would have carried well into middle age, and give them greater latitude to buy homes, build families and otherwise get on with their lives. If only all of this year’s graduates should be so lucky. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owe $1.5 trillion in student loans. This exceeds the $1.1 trillion they owe on their vehicles, and the $977 billion they owe on their credit cards.
HIT: With the slop that spills from the mouths of some of our so-called leaders these days, it comes as a breath of fresh air when an elected official acts in the exact opposite manner. Such was the case here on Tuesday night, when longtime Greene County Commissioner Archie Trader learned that two challengers had defeated him in the primary for the pair of Republican spots in November’s general election. Trader told one of our reporters, “I had a good 12 years. I’m happy for the two that are winning. I have no bad feelings.” Trader, who said he had waffled before deciding to seek another term, added, “I loved being a commissioner. I guess 76 is a good time to retire.” We thank Trader for his years of service and leadership in Greene County, and we also thank him for his display of class and dignity in an often classless and undignified profession.
MISS: Off-year municipal primary elections tend to be low-turnout affairs and, unfortunately, Tuesday’s primary was no exception. In Washington County, 25 percent of registered voters made their way to their polling places, which is a typical result. It would be easy to scold voters for not taking more interest in who serves on a township board or who determines how a school budget is divvied up, but perhaps the fault lies more with when the election is scheduled. As we noted in a Sunday editorial, Pennsylvania should join other states that have moved municipal elections to even-numbered years.
HIT: We would be remiss if we didn’t offer comment on this month’s ExtraO-Rdinary People Award recipient, 14-year-old Nina Thompson, a ninth-grade high honor student at Bentworth High School whose Pillows for Peace project has donated more than 410 pillows and bags for children of women staying at Domestic Violence Services’ shelter. “A lot of times, kids come in to the shelter with nothing but what they have with them,” she told the Observer-Reporter‘s Karen Mansfield. “Most of them come with nothing. So, we put together bags with the pillow and pillowcase, toiletries, activities, books and towels and give it to them so they feel comforted.” What makes Nina stand out – aside from her generous and selfless nature – is her poise and humility. “She’s really been invaluable to us,” said Kelly Young, donations and resources coordinator for DVS. “She’s helped bring awareness and helped get our message out there, and she’s helped the agency tremendously. She’s an extraordinary young lady.” We couldn’t agree more.