As the holiday season arrives, it's common to see the newspaper filled, in print and online, with reports of the generosity and kindness of people throughout the suburbs. Yet, it's also important to recognize that -- contrary to popular opinion -- good works, positive accomplishments and just plain good news are common in daily newspapers not just in the Season of Love but every day. So common, in fact, that I couldn't fit a list of them from just the past week into a single column. But, every Thanksgiving, I attempt the exercise as a reminder of the kinds of uplifting reports you can find routinely year round.
• Our editorial Wednesday acknowledged state and national honors won by administrators in Northwest Suburban High School District 214 and at Naperville's Neuqua Valley High School. These are good things, but keep in mind, too, that we frequently report awards citing excellence in schools and classrooms throughout the suburbs, and we routinely profile "top teachers" who are representatives of their profession as much they are standouts in it.
• Nearly every day brings reports of remarkable accomplishments by our young people. A highlight this week? Aurora's Rosary High School Beads swim team won the state championship -- for the third consecutive year.
• Keeping the theme of threes, we reported Thursday on three Wheeling High School alumni who will be named in December to the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.
• Excellence in education extends beyond our high schools. On Sunday, we profiled an innovative program at Judson University in Elgin that offers students with intellectual disabilities the chance to develop life and work skills through a two-year residential experience in a faith-based community.
• Sometimes, positive stories describe the simple acts of everyday citizens working to make their communities better. Last Friday in Arlington Heights about 30 people gathered for a discussion of racism -- how it manifests itself in our communities and how we as simple individuals can work toward better harmony. It was hosted by the Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations.
• Good deeds sometimes arise when people are put in the worst of circumstances. We reported Wednesday on three Fox Valley teenagers who rushed into action when they saw a 1-year-old baby fall out of a car into the street. They not only tended to the child at the scene, but when people from the car came back to grab the baby and sped off, the young men also helped police pursue the car and get critical aid for the child.
• Good news also comes in the form of business reports -- evidenced this week, among other things, by the completion of a $25 million renovation of the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort.
Amid sensational reports of sexual harassment, vicious politics, economic woe and violent mayhem of all sorts, it can be easy to take a cynical view of our world, our society and indeed our species. But don't overlook the marvelous things we also undertake, achieve and experience. "With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams," the poet Max Ehrmann wrote, "it is still a beautiful world." And not just at the holidays, but every day of the year.