Published 12:00 am Monday, November 18, 2013

Attracting ‘best and brightest’
In response to and support of Paul Fisher’s article in Sunday’s editorial section (“Education is the answer,” Nov. 10):
One of Zig Ziglar’s most famous quotes was, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Imagine yourself a prospective, highly qualified educator who has decided to relocate to North Carolina. You apply to several school districts and successfully land screening interviews in those districts.
First, you go to Monroe and interview at the Union County Public Schools Central Services building in downtown Monroe. This is a modern facility with up-to-date offices and two very comfortable conference rooms.
Next, you go to Cabarrus County and interview at the Cabarrus County Schools Education Center, located near the Arena and Events Center. It is a modern, two-story facility which is very attractive, and again has a state-of-the-art appearance and is a very inviting place.
Then you go to Rowan County and visit the Long Street office, with its creaking floors and plaster peeling off the walls. You park behind the building and walk around to the front (possibly in the rain) to enter the building. Or you may need to go to Ellis Street and find yourself navigating the labyrinth of hallways and offices to find your desired location. Regardless of the interview process, you have already developed a first impression.
If all things are equal, which school district will you choose? This is what Mr. Fisher means when he speaks of a “beacon of light.” I agree that there are pressing needs in our schools — there always will be. But the most important resource for any organization is its people. If you don’t attract the brightest and best, by whatever means possible, you will always be playing catch-up. That is where Rowan-Salisbury Schools are now.
Paul Fisher is a very wise and successful business man. He knows of what he speaks!
— Randy Overcash

Silence, a new ‘no’
As a new resident of Salisbury, I researched local opportunities where I might use my experience and become connected to the community. It seemed this was a logical way to get acquainted with the area, its people, and be helpful. My research reflected several places where my level of abilities, desire, and the organization might have a positive fit.
These groups included nonprofits, religious affiliated, media, and educational facilities.
In all, 12 places were contacted. Ten never replied to a letter, phone message, or email. A person from one organization called, but was more intent in having me join their group, as opposed to seeing if there was a match to volunteer. One replied for a once-a-year project.
Has silence become the new local business norm for an answer? These organizations might want to recognize that most pleasures in life will eventually wear out, but the pleasure of helping others never does.
At this point, I find it interesting to recall a story of two community-minded people. The successful man said, “Have we become so blinded and busy that we no longer think of the individual?” The lady replied, “I hope not. Even God hasn’t reached that point yet.”
— C.E. Hayden