Early childhood education lays foundation for career success

To the Editor:

In conversations with local business leaders, I often hear of the qualities they seek when the are recruiting and hiring new employees.

Some of these relate to “hard” skills, such as math, scientific reasoning and basic writing competency.

Others are “soft” skills, from punctuality and perseverance in tasks to the ability to work in teams.

We are working on some of these skills with our “First Impressions Count” programs, working with students from middle school through college. We’re looking forward to our next event Oct. 15 at NIU.

All these were reflected in your Sept. 9 article, “DeKalb’s Early Learning Center works toward getting ‘the whole child’ ready for school career.”

It centered on the results of a recent, statewide assessment of kindergarten readiness, spanning three major learning areas: early math, early literacy, and social-emotional development – the same fundamental skillsets that these youngsters will need when they enter the workforce years down the road.

This is a top priority of the ReadyNation organization of business leaders, to which I belong: Encouraging further investments in children’s well-being that are shown by research to boost kids’ chances of school success in the short term and, over time, the quality of our workforce and economy.

After an extended period of cuts and neglect, Illinois has spent the past several years investing further resources in such early childhood priorities as pre-K.

This is a wise direction for not only kids’ development, but our workforce-improvement and economic-development hopes – and it remains a productive path to follow even further.

Matt Duffy

Executive director, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Here’s the story of how I came up with ‘Life offers more’ slogan

To the Editor:

Eric Olson’s column last week about the Sycamore signs was correct in saying there wasn’t much information about the origin of the Sycamore slogan, “Life Offers More in Sycamore.”

I, too, have never been able to find an article about its creation and I have no award to prove what I am about to tell you.

Sometime in the mid 1960s, the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce ran a contest looking for a city slogan. Perhaps I was the schoolgirl Jon Ward was referring to.

I was somewhere around the age of 14 or 15 when I heard about the contest on the car radio as my mom was driving me to school. The local radio station, WLBK-AM, was advertising the contest.

The simple rhyme/not rhyme “Life offers more in Sycamore” popped into my head and my mother poked, prodded and convinced me to mail in my slogan entry.

I do not remember the timeframe for submitting entries, but I do remember getting a phone call from someone on the Chamber board who congratulated because my entry had won the contest.

And that was it; no ceremony, no recognition and no prize. (At the time, crushing to a teenager who was most certainly in it for the prize.) For many years I kept its origin a secret; maybe a little embarrassed and maybe a little uncomfortable about the “schoolgirl” wording I felt could have been better. I have lived in Sycamore 58 years and I still do some eye-rolling over that slogan. Then again, perhaps I have some mixed emotions because I do have a photo of the sign framed and hanging in my home.

I can’t attest to Mr. Ward’s memories of what his dad may have declared as “his” slogan, but I can assure you (without proof) that this most recent slogan of 50-plus years is mine.

Janice Clayton Bolander