Regarding James Snow's June 27 letter, andquot;Schools must improve as our kids are not 'bottom feeders'andquot;: I graduated from Del Norte County High School in 2001. Four years later, I graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in English and history. Since then I have worked on Capitol Hill, traveled literally around the world and will be starting my first year of law school in August.

I am not writing this letter to flaunt my accomplishments, but to point out that students from Del Norte County can and do succeed. Our teachers and administrators are not the roadblocks to success that Snow paints them as. If I had the space, I would name all the wonderful teachers in this county who believed in me and helped me reach my goals.

The real issues that hinder success in our county are drug use, poverty, and low expectations. After reading Cornelia de Bruin's article (andquot;In Focus: Del Norte County Children,andquot; June 23), I think it is more than obvious that our children have many obstacles to overcome on their journey towards success.

Our teachers are one of Del Norte County's best assets. When we consider at whose feet blame needs to be laid, I would urge all of us to look to our government and community as opposed to our teachers. A good teacher can only undo so much damage that had been done to a child. A teacher can only speak so many words of encouragement into a young life that has been filled with so many hardships.

As a community, let's stop handing out blame and begin making real changes. Mentoring and scholarship programs are already in place, and have benefitted countless students, but more can be done. I challenge each one of us to do our part in shaping the future of our children and our community.

Katie McLoughlin

Crescent City