Thursday, July 02, 2009
Getting good grades is always an important goal
By Dr. Anthony Policastro

I frequently see adolescents who are having problems in school. One of the questions I ask is what they see themselves doing five years from now. It is interesting how often I get the same answer. The response is that they expect to be playing a sport in college on an athletic scholarship. In most cases they have made a conscious decision to not do their class work or homework. They have decided to not study for tests. Their report card usually has mostly failing grades. However, they feel that it does not matter. There are two problems with this way of thinking. The obvious is that they will not get an athletic scholarship if all of their high school grades are F's. That often does not seem to make a difference. They are convinced that they are so good that the colleges will not care about their grades. Occasionally, they will admit in the office that this thinking is not realistic. I had one patient who was failing everything and felt it did not matter because he was going to get a basketball scholarship to the University of North Carolina. This is related directly to the second problem with this way of thinking. When I asked him if he was that good of a basketball player, his response was yes. I then asked him if he was the best player on his team. The answer was no. College scholarships are not easy to come by. They usually require the individual to not only be good at the sport but to achieve a level of play that is remarkable. Most students who get scholarships are the best player on their high school team and at their position in the conference. Colleges are not interested in second tier players; they want the best. Colleges with better reputations know that they can get the best so they will not be bothered with someone who has failing grades. Parents will sometimes support the notion that their child is college athlete material when that is clearly not the case. If you look at the local individuals who went on to professional sports, that is clear. Delino Deshields was outstanding in several sports. Luke Pettigout was a superb football player. There are really two important lessons here. The first is that high school grades are very important. Parents need to focus on those being good before they focus on athletic ability. The second is that unless an adolescent is clearly the best player on the team, the college scouts are likely to look elsewhere to award their scholarships. Expectations need to be realistic.

Nanticoke Health Services to participate in Riverfest Nanticoke Health Services will once again be part of this year's Riverfest with a health tent located at the Nanticoke Network Building across from Gateway Park in Seaford (corner of Front and Market Streets). The tent will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. Healthcare professionals will provide free: blood pressure checks; screenings for risk of circulatory problems; information on healthy lifestyles and programs and services available at Nanticoke; cancer screening information; and information on Nanticoke's Wound Care Center. Meet Nanticoke's most recent addition to their surgical staff, Dr. Michael Wingate and their newest Nephrologist, Dr. Janet Cruz. A First-Aid station will be located under the tent. There will be health information for all ages and interactive displays. The first 100 participants (one per family) will receive a free gift. To learn more about Nanticoke's health tent, contact Nanticoke Occupational Health at 629-6611, ext. 8682.

Safe Sitter Class offered Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is offering a Safe Sitter class for girls and boys ages 11 to 13. The 2-day course will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., July 8 and 10. The Safe Sitter program is a medically accurate instructional series that teaches youngsters how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children. Cost is $50. Participants are to bring a bagged lunch. To register your son, daughter or child's babysitter, call 629-6611, ext. 2540. All medical information will be taught by a certified professional. During the course, students get hands-on practice in basic life-saving techniques so they are prepared to act in a crisis. Instructors also provide tips to make sitters more confident caregivers. They give information on child development and suggest age-appropriate activities. Participants will also learn about the business aspects of babysitting. To register or for more information about Safe Sitter, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2540.

Dental care for disabled children Getting children to the dentist can be a chore of any parent, but if the children have disabilities, the challenge of finding a dentist and the costs associated with treatment can be especially daunting. Often dentists who provide specialized treatments aren't included in a company's dental plan and parents must pay the bills. Now that's changed under legislation Gov. Jack Markell signed recently. Senate Bill 65, sponsored by Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, Sen. Patricia Blevins and Rep. John Kowalko, requires insurance companies to pick up the cost of out-of-network dentists for patients of children with severe disabilities when their in network dentist cannot provide the care needed.