Dear Editor:

To the First Lady Michele Obama,

Tonight, the Palmerton Area School Board has decided to get rid of a number of sports and extra curricular activities at our school. Budget cuts are affecting the health and well being of our students. We as parents are trying to keep our children fit, mentally and physically. We need to find ways to improve our educational system, not to take away our children's hopes and dreams of a brighter future.

We, as a community are attempting to come up with solutions to rectify this decision. As parents we see the disillusionment in our children's eyes. This is sad, as well as heart wrenching. We all want the illusion of the "American Dream" to be reality.

Our daughter Sarah, who is 16 wants to attend Kutztown University for elementary education or art therapy. Sarah is now unsure of this decision, due to the recent cuts in the educational system. Sarah is taking honors courses, which might also be affected by these budget cuts. She is a well rounded student. Sarah plays basketball and soccer. Soccer is one of the sports that has been eliminated. Sarah works extremely hard at her studies and enjoys soccer as one of her rewards for all of her hard work.

Zachary will be a Freshman next year. He has to work harder for his grades, but loves to wrestle. Wrestling gives him goals to strive for. School work would probably be harder for him, if he did not have wrestling to give him the objectivity he needs. Wrestling was also cut from the sports schedule.

Zac also suffers from asthma. We work hard at keeping him healthy. This year when he got an upper respiratory infection the pediatrician could not believe his lung capacity. He said this was all due to Zac's active lifestyle. Zac exercises in some capacity almost every day of the week.

Our oldest child is a graduate of Palmerton Area High school. Luckily she graduated last year and does not have to worry about the possible effects of these budget cuts. She is extremely upset for her sister, brother and friends. She is attending her first year of college and staying active by playing softball. She knows the importance of staying healthy in mind and in body.

After these cuts this evening, school spirit is at an all time low. Both my husband and I are proud graduates of Palmerton Area High School. We moved back to the area when we were expecting our first child. We wanted to raise our children in a small town atmosphere. Everyone knows everyone. Your child's teachers know them personally. You know what your children are doing.

We take great pride in our children and their accomplishments, small or large.

In our house there are four major factors. Family, work, school, and sports. A good education is what gets you through life. Sports help to keep our children healthy, mentally and physically, as well as helps them to set goals. We just want our children to have a bright future.

From one mother to another mother,

Sharon Graver

hgraver@ptd.net

5595 Little Gap Road

Kunkletown, PA 18058