We’ve been deluged with so much distressing news lately that it comes as a welcome bit of uplift to read Bob Burrows’s fine profile of recent Hudson graduate Charlie Neuenschwander.

Neuenschwander has clearly distinguished himself both athletically and academically, and I was especially heartened to hear of his intention to make the world a better place through his study of environmental engineering. His determination to address the challenge of climate change is increasingly typical of his generation, who understand better than many of their elders what’s at stake for our country and the world in averting the disasters that endanger all life on the planet.

To quote Neuenschwander: “I found that I wanted to have a bigger purpose for myself and I saw that working on environmental issues could be a really good way for me to apply my abilities and bring some change.” Admirable words!

At a moment when society threatens to come apart at the seams under the stress of its social and political problems, young people like Charlie Neuenschwander give us a desperately needed shot of hope.

I applaud the highly motivated youth we hear of every day, those who care enough, in the arenas of environmentalism, racial justice and other issues, to act on their values instead of just talk about them. They are the ones spearheading significant change in our time.

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I say to Charlie (and his twin sister, Maya, too), go forward in boldness of purpose, with confidence that you’re inspiring many of us older than you with your energy and dedication. We’re rooting for you. The future is yours, and you’ll make it better for everyone along the way.

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls