Editorial: Three cheers

Aug. 09, 2013 @ 11:51 PM

Friends of the Smokies provides critical support

It is only thanks to groups such as Friends of the Smokies that our national park can offer so many varied and interesting programs that spotlight the balance between enjoying our park and protecting the surroundings. Friends invested more than $226,000 in environmental education programs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the 2012-2013 school year. That is a remarkable show of support.

Some 20,000 students and 4,700 teachers and chaperones enjoyed the national park as an enormous outdoor schoolroom through programs like Parks as Classrooms and Teacher-Ranger-Teacher.

“Students from East Tennessee and Western North Carolina are so fortunate to have one of America’s greatest natural treasures right in their backyard, and because of the generosity of these donors and Friends’ license plate buyers, even students from as far away as Indiana can participate in interactive, online distance learning opportunities through Parks as Classrooms,” said Friends of the Smokies President Jim Hart. Yes, but we also are fortunate to have Friends of the Smokies.

Two Seymour grads prove successful in class, on field

It is not every student who can excel in the classroom and on the athletic field. Those who succeed in both arenas deserve special recognition. Two members of the Seymour Lady Eagles club lacrosse team, recent grads Erin Fine and Meagan Bryan, were selected for the U.S. Lacrosse High School All-Academic team.

An All-Academic honoree exhibits exemplary lacrosse skills, good sportsmanship on the field, and represents high standards of academic achievement. This player also should have left her mark by making significant contributions of service to the school and/or community.

Both Fine and Bryan were 4.0 students at Seymour High School and selected among the class valedictorians. Fine received a lacrosse scholarship to play at Tennessee Wesleyan, while Bryan will continue her education at the University of Tennessee. The girls were two of 42 athletes selected for the All-Academic award statewide.

Congratulations to these fine student-athletes, who represent their families, their school and their sport so very well. The rewards of their hard work are evident.

Dollywood award cites efforts to please disabled

Dollywood has won a lot of awards through the years, but there may be no prize as coveted as the latest. Thanks to several projects and committees designed to serve all of Dollywood’s guests, the park received the disABILITY Resource Center’s Most Accessible Business Award for 2013.

The center is based in Knoxville and presents one business each year with the Spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act Award. It goes to “a business that has demonstrated above and beyond compliance with the ADA and broken down the physical and attitudinal barriers for people with disabilities so that they can better participate in our society.”

Dollywood was singled out for its Action Committee, which provides input about ways to make the park more accessible. As rides or attractions are engineered, the committee meets regularly to offer suggestions about how to make them easier to access.

Thanks, Dollywood, for recognizing that your customers come from many backgrounds and abilities, and for taking steps to accommodate them all.