12/17 Letters to the Editor

*Coach's treatment blunder by district*Coach advocated for all her kids*Soldier's family touched by quilters*Holiday lights are appreciated*Perrydale FFA impresses seniors

Coach's treatment

blunder by district

I am writing as a dear friend of Mary Christensen.

She was the boys tennis coach at Dallas High School the past five years. She volunteered her time this summer teaching clinics and this fall she ran a program for tennis players not involved in fall sports, both boys and girls.

Her efforts helped level the playing field of opponents who have clubs in their towns for year-around play.

Christensen was puzzled this fall when her players questioned her about her coaching in the spring. Mary found that the administration was interested in giving her job to a newly employed teacher at the high school. Mary had to write a resume and interview for her own job. They did not rehire her.

I attended a Dallas School Board meeting Dec. 8, where Mary told her story and requested that this not happen to another employee in the district.

One tennis parent at the meeting asked, "Mary was the heart of tennis and the kids were the soul. Why is this happening? Did anyone ask the parents what they thought?"

Christensen has voluntarily taught summer tennis camps for 29 years. Students now in the high school program started with her when they were 5 or 8 years old. She has a passion to have everyone love tennis as much as she does.

I am astonished that someone who has given so much of her time, energy and even her money is being dishonored in this way by being asked to step down and move aside for someone else.

There are eight students who are seniors and will be affected by the administration's shortsightedness. The players have an allegiance to her and they are caught in the middle.

It is a sad time.

Patti Youngren


Soldier's family

touched by quilters

My husband and I wanted to express thanks and gratitude to the Friendship Quilt Club of Polk County. Thanks for making the five beautiful patriotic quilts that were given to soldiers and their families at our annual Christmas dinner.

My husband and I are one of the recipients of a beautiful quilt. He has served over in Afghanistan and is being redeployed to Iraq in the beginning of 2009. We are truly blessed with this beautiful quilt and will display it proudly in our home.

Thanks for your appreciation for the services provided by our soldiers. We are honored by your talents and thank you for your thoughts and care.

Jennifer Pedersen


Coach advocated

for all her kids

I heard that Mary Christensen, Dallas' own tennis guru, had been let go as the boys tennis coach at Dallas High School. The news hit me like an overhead smash to the stomach.

Like hundreds of other kids growing up in Dallas, Mary taught me how to play tennis at her annual Kids, Inc. Tennis Camp.

I looked forward to the camp every summer, more than anything, because of Mary's boundless energy and enthusiasm. The camp was so inclusive, fun, and safe that I did not mind getting to the tennis courts by Whitworth at 7 o'clock each morning.

No one has been a stronger advocate for tennis in Dallas than Mary Christensen. In addition to the Kids, Inc. camp and coaching duties at Dallas High School, Mary runs a competitive team that travels to United States Tennis Association tournaments. She also occasionally finds time to play tennis herself.

As the high school coach, she has continued the philosophy of her predecessor, Mark Trolan: field a competitive team, while giving everyone a shot to play. In my four years of varsity tennis on Trolan's team, I do not remember a single player being cut. Mary has continued that policy, and I think any attempt to change it would be ill-advised and contrary to the spirit of the boys tennis team and Dallas tennis in general.

The tennis team is not the football, baseball, or wrestling team (thank goodness). The boys who join the tennis team do so for precisely that reason. What Dallas tennis needs is someone who will advocate on behalf of kids, not someone who will turn it into another super competitive and exclusive sport.

Mary Christensen has been advocating for kids and tennis in the Dallas community for decades. Who in their right mind would want her to stop now?

Alex Ames

Chicago, Ill.

Perrydale FFA

impresses senior

Thanks so much Perrydale FFA for the wonderful lunch for us seniors held Dec. 4.

What a pleasure the entire time was -- from the special greeting in the parking lot, seeing appetizers on our table, being seated by FFA members, to serving us wonderful soup, warm buns, coffee, and cookies.

The students came by to visit with us. We played bingo. The grade-school children sang Christmas carols, led by their choir director. She was amazing. The high school students were also talented singers.

The respect shown by the students to the FFA teacher and choir director was amazing.

Donna Black


Holiday lights

are appreciated

We want to thank the family that lives on Fir Villa Road for all their hard work, not to mention expense, for providing all of us a wonderful Christmas light display.

Donna and Dale Hemman



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