I read the recent article about Metro passes with interest but was disappointed at how shallow and propagandist it was (The District Line, “Missing the Bus,” 2/22). Over and over, how WMATA is so heartless, how impossible it is for young people to cope because the bus fare has gone up 10 cents per ride. At first I was heartbroken at the thought of young people missing school because they have no cash in the house, at the idea that teachers had to help kids with transportation money even before the fare went up. But then I looked back at the article and realized that the author made no attempt to learn anything more about the household incomes of the people who were written about, no attempt to learn about their monthly expenses, did no further exploring of the issues at hand except to report the initial problem. Being cash-poor is indeed stressful and depressing and makes for some hard choices. I wonder how much money got spent on fast food or snacks at the 7-Eleven in the same month that public transportation could not be afforded. The article would have been much more intelligent and worthwhile had it looked at more than a $4 increase in Metro costs. Just such flimsy journalism!

Judy Tiger

Bummer School

I am writing from work because I could not wait until I got home to send you all this message. The article that I just finished reading about Howard Dilworth Woodson Senior High School (“The End of an Error,” 2/22) almost brought me to tears. What a shame that such priceless resources and programs have been neglected by our community! I could perhaps say that the neglect is the fault of the D.C. Public Schools, the D.C. government, the parents, or the youth that have attended HD since I graduated in 1993, but then I would also have to say that it is my fault as well.

You should see the look of astonishment that people give me when I relay stories of how I obtained advanced open water certification from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors during my junior year of high school—at no cost to me! Where else in D.C.’s public school system could one be exposed to a business and finance, marine science, or humanities program that was on par with college level education? How many of Washington’s lower- and middle-class youth were given a chance to go on to post-secondary education because of the Fannie Mae–sponsored Futures 500 scholarship program? Why have we let our schools fall into such a state of despair?

The picture of the dark and drained swimming pool was extremely disappointing. I recall passing out flyers in front of the same lonely steel door on many occasions, in order to invite my schoolmates to come and try out for the Woodson Warrior Shark Swim Team. “What! There is a pool in there?” they would exclaim. “Can you guys teach me how to swim too?” The exposure to potentially new ideas, the sparks that once ignited hope in this otherwise dark city, and materials that were once used to build strong foundations for our future leaders now seem to be cast to the side, or simply overlooked like so many of the once proud products of our D.C. public school system. What can be done!?!?!

Still sad,
Tremayne Jackson
Hyattsville, Md.

I read with great interest and sadness the recent article by Mike DeBonis on my alma mater H.D. Woodson. I graduated in June of 1975 having been a member of the first class to go through three years at the school—back then it was just 10th through 12th grades.

Napoleon “Nappy” Lewis was one of the reasons the school was so admired and respected by its students. But his love for the school was infectious to all who came in contact with him. I remember many of the very active parents who were community activists and some even served on the school board and could always be counted on to support school endeavors. Boy, that was a time when the “village” really came together to raise a child.

Grace Bradford, then the chorus director, was the person who wrote the lyrics to the school song and blended them with the melody of “Purlie” from the Broadway play by the same name. We would enthusiastically sing that song at every assembly, and I was never so proud of the Tower of Power than at my graduation, which was held at the Kennedy Center due to our class size—I believe it was close to 1,000.

The school always looked dismal when it rained, but it was still our school, and we loved it.

I’ve never been to a reunion, but if I am in town, I will certainly try to make the send-off.

Juan H. Gaddis
Colonial Village

With the increased chronic conditions of the D.C. Public Schools and all its depressing and dangerous funding and safety issues, you have to wonder what will happen next. It’s like a sickened soap opera, as you reach for the remote, with the thoughts of what is going to happen on the next exciting chapter of government gone wrong and children left behind to fend for themselves. So much has happened to our youth, and they have paid a steep price of being caught in the middle of the daily problems while trying to live and survive another school day at H.D. Woodson Senior High School. The problems in your story offer a sad reflection of what happens in the school system on a daily basis.

Indeed so much has happened and continues to happen under the District of Columbia’s watch and the watchful eyes of helpless District of Columbia citizens. But is anyone under the current administration really interested in sparing our children from further turmoil, or are they just spending another day shuffling papers, creating bureaucratic red tape, and turning the channel onto the next chapter of a day gone wrong? As a parent and grandmother, I feel for those children who are afraid to take their coats off because they believe that the next fire is around the corner. Your story indicates an end of an error, but I see it as an end going up in smoke. Sadly, this story complements the article “Desk Job” (2/8), because of the evident lack of security and interest in maintaining a safe environment. That article reflects how government officials and security personnel are so gullible to believe anything that anyone tells them, as long as they wear a fake smile, carry a cheap clipboard, look important, and be a damn bad actress. Oh pardon me; I have to turn the channel to a school burning to survive.

Sharon J. Chambers

Shelling Out

Your readers’ review of “Five Guys” restaurant (The Feed, 2/22) concludes, “Overall, I would recommend it to anyone…except maybe vegetarians.”

What about people allergic to peanuts?

Five Guys’ “fries that are made with fresh ingredients” are prepared in peanut oil, and patrons awaiting orders are invited to partake of peanuts in the shell from bulk containers.

No review of Five Guys should omit this crucial information, lest peanut-averse carnivores go out of their way to dine, only to turn back in horror at the door.

Barbara Gross
Rockville, Md.

CORRECTION: Due to an error by Staff Writer Ruth Samuelson, the name of the executive director of DC Vote was misspelled in last week’s City Desk. His name is Ilir Zherka, not Illir Zherka.