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UP: To Artsbridge’s ArtCart program, coming into Wood County elementary schools for a fourth school year. Though only Jefferson Elementary Center has its own art teacher, this program ensures that fourth graders get free, in-school art instruction from the program’s four teachers. That kind of vital instruction is available not only because of Artsbridge, but because of the many other individuals and local and state organizations and agencies that support it. That the program is not only continuing but growing is an encouraging sign for our students.

UP: To the hundreds of local residents who donated money, supplies, backpacks — or their time and effort — to programs designed to help ALL our local students start the school year on the right foot. Other organizations are preparing bags of non-perishable food to be sent home with students in need on weekends to ensure they remain fed while they are not in school. It is a shame to know this kind of help is still so desperately needed by the young people in our community, but heartening to know so many are willing to provide it.

UP: To Ravenswood High School prevention resource officer, Ravenswood Police Cpl. Tom Speece, who earned the PRO Legacy Award for helping establish the PRO program at Ravenswood, which is now entering his 19th year. According to those who have worked with Speece, he has formed friendships with students that endure into their adulthood. He helps them get jobs, visits them in hospitals, comforts them at funerals, attends their weddings, and helps welcome their newborns, officials said. That kind of dedication is making a difference for the whole community.

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