Stand by me • It could have been a movie script. A new student at Sunset Ridge Middle School was the target of a bully who put a Post-it note on her back that read "Caution: Wide Load." She went to the school counselor and, sobbing, told her what had happened. The counselor alerted a group of 24 "student ambassadors" about the sad situation, and they went to work. The following day more than 1,000 students showed up, covered in Post-its that read "Stop the hate," "Time to change" and "Not in our school." Student victim 1, bully 0. That's the kind of score we like to see in the ongoing fight against school bullying. This school and its exemplary student body should be a model for all other schools and students in Utah.
Shop for insurance • Old age is not for sissies. And dealing with the costs of health care will require seniors to be more astute and diligent as changes are made in federal and state laws governing health insurance. That is evident in the rising cost of prescription drug plans next year. Although the Obama administration has announced correctly that the average premium for basic coverage will remain $30 in 2013, the same as this year, that doesn't reflect the sometimes steep increases coming for individual Medicare beneficiaries. Seven of the most popular 10 drug plans will raise premiums from 11 to 23 percent. The most popular plan will only increase premiums 57 cents per month, however, and that's how the average remains low. It's complicated, and seniors should shop carefully for the best plan for their individual needs.
Ahead of the game • More Utah high school students are earning college credit before they ever arrive on a college campus. More than 20,000 students took Advanced Placement classes during the past school year, an 11 percent increase. If those who finish the courses, which range from history to calculus, also pass a difficult exam, they can earn years of basic college credit that is accepted at colleges and universities across the country. Last year 68 percent of Utah students who took AP courses passed the exams, compared to 59 percent nationally. Taking the courses is good preparation for college, even if a student doesn't pass the test. They are more intense than the average high school course, similar to, and even sometimes more difficult than college courses. Davis High, which traditionally has the highest number of AP students and one of the highest pass rates, encourages all students to take the courses. All schools should do the same.