Chapel Hill: Opinion

What you’re saying: Ariana Mangum, Melinda Abrams, Anne Cabell and Laura Enyedi

Help send the seniors off

Congratulations to our high school seniors!

This year on June 11, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will graduate roughly 1,000 seniors.

That evening all graduates are invited to bring a guest and celebrate at Project Graduation: a safe, drug- and alcohol-free event held from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. at the UNC Student Union.

A tradition since 1993, the event features food, activities, entertainers, inflatables and many prizes, and has consistently seen roughly 75 percent or greater attendance of the senior class.

Project Graduation is made possible thanks to many volunteers and the generous support of numerous individuals and businesses in the community.

Last year while we did not have graduating seniors, we knew many of them. Donating time and money to Project Graduation felt like a concrete way to celebrate with them.

Projection Graduation of Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Inc., is a 501(c) (3) Non-Profit Organization, EIN 56-1901263

Please consider making a tax deductible donation, or volunteering your time the night of June 11 in honor of this year's graduating class by visiting

Melinda Abrams, Carrboro High School parent

Anne Cabell. Chapel Hill High School parent

Laura Enyedi, East Chapel Hill High School parent

The writers are the co-chairs of Project Graduation.

At a crossroads

Many years ago a young man was executed for murder who was mentally handicapped. When he was given his last supper he decided to finish it later after his execution. Obviously he had no knowledge what an execution meant.

As a teacher of special-needs adults and children I found this terribly sad. This kind of treatment was not unusual and many special-needs people were put to death by uncaring juries. I even had someone tell me that “the less of these kind of people were here the better.”

I stood shocked, unable to move or speak. Then I burst into tears. I could not explain my feelings as I wept uncontrollably.

Finally, I got control of my emotions. Another teacher took me for a little walk and allowed me to calm down.

Today they don't execute special-needs people. But that does not stop some good citizens from avoiding these people and not speaking to them. I stood at a crossroads in my emotions. I spent many years teaching special-needs students and loved it. The students gave me a lot more than I gave them.

I don’t like that we still execute people because you might get the wrong person. Many innocent people and special-needs folks have died form lack of understanding of a crime. I am glad to see other people feel the same way, and that we don’t use the death penalty as frequently as we once did.

Maybe we are getting more compassionate as we age. Maybe we are more understanding of other people’s needs. Maybe juries don’t want another person’s death on their conscience. I don’t know but am glad to see more compassion toward prisoners.

Ariana Mangum

Chapel Hill