Hoop Schemes: A Legacy of Corruption
Thank you, Robert Andrew Powell. Your story "Dream Team" (March 5) may turn into the Emancipation Proclamation of high school basketball in Dade County. Yesterday there was not an ember of hope, not a local coach or player who dared even dream of defeating Miami Senior High School's basketball "machine." Today for every cowed Dade high school basketball coach, for every shattered player chewed up and spit out by the Miami High School basketball factory, there is hope -- thanks to Mr. Powell's ammunition.
At long last the emperor's Nike cloak has been ripped off and the naked dishonesty and raw corruption of this "program" has been exposed. And make no mistake, it is corruption that will be the legacy of Stingarees basketball, not the tradition that coach Frank Martin likes to trumpet. The ball is now very deep in the court of the Florida High School Activities Association and the so-far silent administrators of the Dade County school system.
This lawlessness should also be the concern of every Florida legislator. And wouldn't it be stunning if the power of shame provided by Mr. Powell's expose moved the Miami Herald to give us more than prep sports pablum and utilize their vast resources to actually protect this community's young people from exploitation. We'll see.
Hoop Schemes: May I Remind You, Mr. Principal...
Robert Andrew Powell quotes Miami High principal Victor Lopez as saying, "Basketball is big here.... It is something that's been going on for more than 30 years. If you want to study marine biology, you go to MAST Academy. If you want to play basketball, you go to Miami High."
As a student from the first graduating class of MAST Academy, I find it necessary to respond. I would like to emphasize that many students attended MAST Academy because they wanted to study. They wanted an education -- period.
Yes, marine biology was a real perk. However, many of us also took those "wonderful" advanced-placement English and history classes, not to mention all the math. It was a lot of work, but we were happy to have been educated at an institution that was more concerned with what we were learning than with ball games. Perhaps if administrators put more emphasis on education rather than winning basketball games, there wouldn't be articles published about high school kids traveling outside their designated school zones to play a ball game. Teaching young men to dodge the rules is not what many would call preparation for real life. When will students begin traveling to receive better educations?
Winning is not necessarily always something to respect and cherish. The fact that we are given the opportunity to learn and educate ourselves, however, is.
I hope Victor Lopez realizes that a student's education should be a higher priority than winning a basketball game. If he doesn't, I will be happy to be the first in line to remind him.
Heather J. Wilson
Killian Nine: Proud Kid, Shameful Administrators
Thanks to New Times and Ted B. Kissell for printing the Killian High pamphlet ("Reading, Writing, and ... Ohmygod!" March 5). I hate to comment on anything I have not read, and yet it seemed that a lot of people were doing just that in condemning this harmless and surprisingly creative, even sensitive, material.
I wonder what it would feel like to shit on the swollen egos of principal Timothy Dawson, school district spokesman Henry Fraind, and Superintendent Roger Cuevas. Those last two shameless assholes, with their mail-order college degrees, have no moral stature to judge or condemn anyone.
I hope you reprise your information about how the school district police have dealt with adult administrators who show up at work drunk, belligerent, and abusive ("Flunk Out," July 17, 1997). They sure don't get the hardball and unconstitutional raw deal the students received for no reason other than to allow Dawson to posture as a tough disciplinarian and for other officials to pretend to uphold moral values.
As a 48-year-old adult, I'm very proud we have kids like the Killian Nine. I am ashamed we have public officials like those mentioned above.
Killian Nine: It Hurts, It Stinks, It Bleeds
The Killian pamphlet First Amendment was the most genuine, visceral, and plain damn good prose and verse I can remember being published in Miami -- by anyone. The only way to heal is to show where it hurts, where it stinks, and where it bleeds. These youngsters did just that, with literary talent, humor, and valor. Why not protest an effete, outdated, and ineffective school system (which we property owners are paying for), or any other self-serving institution or public official?
For whatever reason, some people have made racism the focus of their objections to the pamphlet. After reading it, I can see it as only a passionate indictment of hypocrisy aimed at all -- from school officials to security personnel to fellow students. Taken to its logical conclusion, it denounces us as well for our complacency and denial. If I were one of the parents, I would shake the youngsters' hands and thank them for the wake-up call. Concerning their racial epithets like "nigger" and "spic" and "honky," I prefer to hear them and deal with the users' shortsightedness and frustration.
And right up there in eunuchlandia is the Miami Herald, with its faux paterfamilias concern, betraying itself as the oligarchy-boot-licking lap dogs it in fact is. A heartfelt thanks to the editorial staff at New Times for reprinting the document and showing once again, as you do almost every week, that you are a much-needed voice in the community and a patch of fertile ground in a journalistic wasteland.
Killian Nine: Shocking but No Surprise
I have to admit I was shocked by many of the things involving the First Amendment pamphlet -- shocked by the profanity, shocked by the actions taken, and shocked by the response. But I must also say that I am not the least bit surprised by the ideas expressed.
The school system has been corrupted, not in the ways of money and power but in the ways of students losing their right to learn. They suffer tremendously and often concern themselves more with how they look than with what they're learning.
As a former Killian student (I graduated last year), I can attest to the problems expressed. The security guards become friends with the troublemakers because they're "cool." The guards are more concerned with making sure you have a hall pass than if the guy behind you is packing a .45. And what about the teachers who overlook cheating because the cheerleader and quarterback have to be at the game tonight? I am fortunate, though. I was able to graduate at the top of the class and go on to a better education. I had some of the best teachers, most of whom are no longer at Killian.
The foul-mouthed writers of the pamphlet should be given credit for having the will to tell stories of the inner workings of the school that our parents can't begin to imagine. As I read First Amendment I was reminded of another famous pamphlet, this one called Common Sense. In our country's path to independence, it was one of the most important pieces of writing. And the revolutionary behind it, Thomas Paine, is now heralded as a hero.
May the students behind the new pamphlet take their own place as voices eager to speak. And may the principal, the parents, and the government listen. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Carlos R. Villa
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