EDITORIAL: College ‘promise’ assists students and community

York Dispatch editorial board
Sophomores Melina Piervencenti, left, and Meghan Stefek walk onto the York College of Pennsylvania campus in Spring Garden Township, Friday, April 16, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Thumbs up for the York College Promise, which will open the doors to higher education for dozens of York-area high school graduates who might not otherwise be able to further their educations.

Call it an investment — and a wise one.

Too many young people in York County see their options for career, advancement and personal improvement limited by their means. That not only penalizes individuals and their families, it holds back the entire community — a reality not lost on officials at the four-year institution.

More:A new program at York College will cover tuition for eligible York County students

“An education from York will help to drive the economic impact of a well-educated workforce in York County,” the college explains in outlining the program. 

Beginning this fall, York College will cover tuition and fees — estimated at about $22,000 a year — for qualifying York County high school graduates. Among the requirements: students must carry at least a 3.3 grade-point average and come from families with annual incomes of less than $75,000. (That’s well over half the households in York County.)

Students will need to cover other expenses, including room and board, but college officials say they will provide tuition for four years, as well as “personalized support with academic advising (and) work-study job opportunities.”

It’s exactly the kind of skin-in-the-game partnership that encourages participation and rewards commitment. Qualifying high school graduates should lose no time in applying before the June 15 deadline.

Thumbs down for a Southern York County School District resident’s misguided decision to sell clothing featuring a Native American likeness the school board voted to discontinue last week.

More:Southern York County schools to retire Native American mascot

More:Southern York alumna launches fundraiser using retired Native American logo

District alumna Allyson Koller created what she called an online fundraiser to sell T-shirts and sweatshirts depicting the Susquehannock High School “warrior” mascot that was formally retired this month. It was an unseemly and insensitive decision — and one the erstwhile beneficiaries of the fundraiser want nothing to do with.

Officials for both the Susquehanna National Heritage Area and the Southern York County School District denied knowledge of, affiliation with, or interest in the project.

There’s nothing against the law in peddling such merchandise, so long as it’s not falsely presented as fundraiser. But doing so disregards the direction of school district officials, disparages Native Americans and sets a poor example for district students who were in the midst of an important life lesson about knowing better, then doing better.

Thumbs up for America’s return to the driver’s seat when it comes to international efforts to slow and — eventually, hopefully — reverse the effects of man-made global climate change.

The White House convened a virtual summit last week at which President Joe Biden and dozens of his international counterparts announced new initiatives for action. Among the most ambitious was that coming from Biden himself: cutting U.S. greenhouse emissions in half by 2030.

A tall order? Absolutely. But it acknowledges the severity of the crisis and the urgency with which it must be met.

Adding to the sense of promise were similar pledges from the leaders of allies including Japan, Britain, Brazil and Canada, and a recommitment to abide by previous efforts to transition to renewable energy by India, the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas producer.

Even China, the world’s largest polluter (the U.S. is No. 2), committed to a plan to begin diminishing its reliance on coal power.

While still just a start, this marks very real progress. And it is a far cry from the past four years, which saw the U.S. as a passive, uninterested party in response to what is clearly and increasingly one of the gravest existential threats facing humanity.