Thumbs up to teachers. We love teachers. We appreciate teachers. We respect teachers. We want to make that very clear. We want to let readers know that we – like many of you – were not amused by a comic that we published on Oct. 21. The comic – “Herman,” by Jim Unger – depicted two men talking. One who was wearing a dunce hat said, “I’m not worried. If I’m not smart enough to get a good job, I can always teach.” Understandably, teachers and teacher fans like us were offended. We do not agree at all with the artist’s sentiment. When adults are asked to list some of the people who have made the biggest impact on their lives, favorite teachers almost always are mentioned. We don’t blame readers for scolding us. We talked to the artist’s editor this week to let him know that we and our readers are disappointed. We pick editorial cartoons very carefully but aren’t in the habit of screening or censoring the comics on a page that is supposed to be funny. A thought that is expressed in a comic represents one person’s opinion. It does not represent the newspaper’s point of view. Nevertheless, we take responsibility for what we publish, and we apologize for the lapse. Now, speaking of teachers. …

Thumbs up to The School Foundation for staging another terrific gala Tuesday. Mayor Stephen J. Wukela was an excellent choice as the district’s distinguished graduate, and he spoke well about the importance of education. The South Florence Drama Club performed magnificently in a “Robert’s Rules in Retrospect” skit that spoofed a Florence City Council meeting. But the recognition of the district’s teachers of the year always is a highlight. There was no drama, since the teacher of the year was announced earlier this fall, but we salute that teacher again anyway: Mary Lynn Woodward of North Vista Elementary School. Three other Honor Roll Teachers were recognized: Brittany Bennett of Timrod Elementary School, Missy Caulkins of McLaurin Elementary School and Bill Ward of West Florence High School. Congratulations to all.

Thumbs up to Wilson High School alums. We marvel every year at the turnout for homecoming festivities. We love that show of school spirit. Enjoy the big parade this morning, Tiger Fest this afternoon at Memorial Stadium and an adult prom tonight. Wear your purple and gold proudly.

Thumbs up to the business, school and church communities for their support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area. That comes from Robb Sasser, the chairman of the organization’s board. “It's been a remarkable few weeks at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area!” he wrote. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, some of our clubs were able to reopen and provide safe and constructive activities for children whose schools were still closed. Because of power outages, our usual source of lunches and snacks was unable to provide food for those attending. But a group of teachers and other personnel from Florence School District One stepped into the breach. Knowing that their students might not have anything to eat, they gathered snacks, drinks, and sandwich fixings, met at Ebenezer Baptist Church and assembled over 200 bag lunches to feed these hungry kids until schools could reopen. Our thanks to the church for providing a space for the project, and to all of the FSD1 personnel who helped, especially Richard McCabe, the organizer of this much needed and much appreciated donation.” Another “awesome” group of visitors were the "Lowe's Heroes," Sasser wrote. They came to the Florence Club with metal shelving, utility carts, and a large storage box full of recreation items such as footballs and hula hoops. “They also left staff with two toolboxes full of handy tools to use for repairs around the various Club facilities,” Sasser wrote. On Oct. 19, America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses (ABCE) set up at the Florence club to conduct a vision screening for more than 100 youngsters, Sasser added. “About 40 were then referred to the ABCE local office for further screening, where they will also get free lenses and frames, if needed,” he wrote. “Good vision is so important to school success, and we appreciate this very important partnership between ABCE and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.” On Oct. 20, a team from the Florence Kids Foot Locker store came with a DJ, door prizes and a check for $5,000 from the Kids Foot Locker Foundation. “Kids got T-shirts and water bottles just for being there, and five lucky youngsters won a pair of athletic shoes of their choosing,” Sasser wrote. “The event was the culmination of an in-store check-out campaign called ‘Add-A-Buck,’ where customers donated $1, $3 or $5 at check-out throughout the month of September.” Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area was one of only 10 clubs nationwide that received this donation. “THANKS to ALL of these businesses who gave generously of their time, talent and treasure to make life better for so many of the kids in our community!” Sasser wrote.

Thumbs up, thumbs down is a regular feature of the Morning News and appears each Saturday on our Opinion page. We seek nominations for both good and bad deeds from our readers. Send nominations to us by email at letters@florencenews.com. Be sure use the word “thumb” in the subject and include a contact number. Thumbs can also be mailed to us c/o The Morning News, 310 S. Dargan St., Florence, S.C., 29506.

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