High school graduations — This week, the first of the eight graduations for Tuolumne and Calaveras high schools took place. John Vierra and Vallecito graduated 30 students on Wednesday and Bret Harte 136 on Friday. In all, 724 are expected to finish their secondary education. They've experienced joys and sorrows, wins and losses. Each school faced its share of challenges, financial, academic, or otherwise. But here they are this class of 2017, moving on, into the world with ideals, and we hope, a determination to make a difference. Congratulations, graduates.
New events — The success of Comic Con this week proves there is a market in this community for new and unusual events. About 1,000 people — fans of comic book heroes and collectors — attended the event at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds despite a limited marketing effort. These sorts of events have a built in clientele that spread the word and respond with enthusiasm. How fun to see a grown man in a Captain America costume and a woman dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Raphael). Sonora should not sell itself short. Go after these cool niche events and add to the fun that's being created downtown.
Curtin Mansion — It was heartening to see that even three years after renovation ended for the Curtin Mansion on Columbia Way near downtown Sonora, the house remains in excellent shape. Owner Steve Case has done a fabulous job in first completing the painstaking work required to reconstruct the historic Victorian but also to keep it up despite deriving no income from the property. Case’s dream to see it used as an upscale retirement home was sidelined while he dealt with medical issues and worked full time, but now he's ready to move ahead. A story in The Union Democrat this week resulted in at least one caller who said she wanted to take on the job of running it. Case says restoring the house and making it useful was something he wanted to do for the community. It is a gift, and it will be wonderful to see it being used once again.
Social media — We’ve written in this space before about the danger of social media and its impact on children and school life. The problem used to be that children were using social media to bully one another, a truly horrible application of something meant to be a communication tool. We're sure that still exists, but now a new horror has arisen in our community. Children using social media to make threats against schools. And the most abhorrent thing about it is they purport to be kidding. Whether we believe these are jokes or not, social media has become a weapon. Like we’ve been told through the years about computer use and children, parents must oversee what their kids are doing on social media. No closed pages, no secret messages. Consider whether your child is old enough, responsible enough for cells phones and social media. Closing schools and taking the time of law enforcement officers mean trouble for us all.