Thumbs-up: To another successful First National Challenge fundraiser. This year, the challenge was predicted to raise more than $50,000 for the booster clubs at DeKalb and Sycamore high schools. The challenge sponsors and fall and winter athletes are always honored at big games between the two schools – including Friday night’s girls and boys varsity basketball games at the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center. These events are always fun and well-attended, and we’re glad that this community tradition has continued to raise money to help high-school athletes perform.
Thumbs-up: To a second Oscar nomination for a DeKalb native. Richard Jenkins, a 1965 graduate of DeKalb High School, has been his nominated for a second time for an Academy Award. Jenkins is up for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Guillermo del Toro’s lavish monster romance “The Shape of Water.” Jenkins plays the character “Giles” in the film. Jenkins previously was nominated for Best Actor for “The Visitor” in 2009. He earned his first Emmy award in 2015 for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries for his role in HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge.” The film “The Shape of Water” has earned 13 nominations this year, and we hope Oscar night will be a big one for one of DeKalb’s own.
Thumbs-up: To women who took the bold stance of confronting the doctor who abused them. Over several days last week, more than 150 women who had been sexually assaulted by pedophile Larry Nassar, a former doctor with the USA Gymnastics team and Michigan State University, spoke out in a Michigan court. They talked about the effect of his crimes on their lives, and many said that confronting him helped them regain a sense of power. The courage shown by these young women is commendable.
Thumbs-down: To all those who enabled Nassar through ignoring complaints, allowing him to photograph young female athletes when he pleased and treat them whenever he deemed necessary. Many people were alerted to what Nassar was doing and chose not to do anything. As a result, he was able to abuse more than 150 women. “Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of,” former USA gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Jordan Wieber testified. “My parents trusted USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar to take care of me, and we were betrayed by both.” Nassar’s crimes have cost many people their jobs and positions, and rightfully so. Anyone who is proved to have ignored warnings about or covered for Nassar should face criminal charges as well.