Brave Hungarians stood up for freedom 50 years ago
It was 50 years ago today that the people of Hungary -- a country about the size of Ohio -- rose up against the brutal tyranny imposed on them by their Soviet occupiers. Fighting against overwhelming odds, they briefly toppled a mighty military machine and shook the Soviet empire to its core. John F. Kennedy remembered Oct. 23, 1956 as "a day that will live forever in the annuals of free men and women."
This brief heroic struggle for freedom was ultimately crushed by Soviet troops. Some 2,500 Hungarians sacrificed their lives for this noble cause. An estimated 200,000 fled the country. About 35,000 -- among them my own family -- eventually settled in the United State.
Like other refugees before and since, America welcomed us. We experienced tolerance and generosity. Opportunities for education and jobs abounded. Combined with our determination to triumph under adverse conditions, we achieved goals that we could not have dreamed of in "the old country." We become part of the multinational stew that continues to stir in the symbolic American melting pot. For those of us that fate and Providence guided to your shores, America, we will be eternally grateful.
And we tried our best to "give back" to the nation that adopted us. Most notably, one of these Hungarian-American '56-ers received the 1994 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Another was selected to be Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 1997. Yet another has served as a member of the U.S. Congress for many years. Even American football was changed forever when Pete and Charlie Gogolak introduced soccer-style kicking to the game.
Today, Hungarians throughout the world commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Revolution by honoring the memory of those brave patriots who lost their lives in this struggle. They set an enduring example for all who yearn to be free -- no matter what the odds, no matter what the sacrifice.
Emeritus Professor of Physics
Youngstown State University
Statistics show Youngstown schools are getting better
In response to the Coitsville Township residents' letter in the Oct. 16 Vindicator, I am happy to report that Superintendent Wendy Webb, students, teachers and administrators are moving Youngstown city schools in the right direction. We are getting better.
To call us, in their letter, "one of the worst in the state" significantly belies the facts. Our Youngstown Early College High School received an Excellent rating on the state report card. We also have several schools in the Effective and Continuous Improvement categories. Our district's graduation rate is increasing and student achievement is steadily climbing. Our students exceeded the state attendance standard and every year our graduates are attending the best colleges and universities in the nation. We have work to do, but empirical data shows we are getting better.
The last school levy for operating costs was approved nearly two decades ago. The Youngstown City School District was fiscally sound until fiscal year 2006. Mandated accountability standards imposed by the state and federal governments and unexpected funding cuts devastated our school finances. We are facing cost factors beyond our control because we are operating in an environment of growing expenses and reduced property tax valuation. Also, Youngstown local property tax dollars and state foundation funds follow open enrollment students to their respective schools of choice. So wherever your children attend school -- the taxes you pay follow them.
Our children deserve an equitable and adequate funding solution. Until the state legislature addresses this crisis we must ask voters to support our five-year 9.5 mills dual operating levy.
Board of Education Member