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Editorial: Nike poster speaks truth about success

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opinion New Richmond, 54017

New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

A few people weren't happy that the New Richmond News was writing a story about Rick Montreal's current legal troubles.

We understood their concern for a friend and co-worker. They didn't want to see the dedicated coach and teacher suffer more than he already has, and a story in the local newspaper would only make things worse.

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The newspaper was warned that our decision to move ahead could cause a rift in the community and our motive for doing the story was also questioned.

While we listened respectfully to those concerns, there was never any doubt that we would follow through with the story.

Not because the News staff is filled with uncaring, cold-hearted people who are only concerned with selling newspapers, as some might suggest.

We did the story because it's our duty to inform the public when someone holding a position of authority over students slips up big time.

Like it or not, teachers and coaches -- like city officials, business leaders and spiritual leaders -- are held to a higher standard when personal conduct is concerned.

They urge our kids regularly to make good choices -- to avoid drinking, drugs and promiscuity. When they don't follow that same acceptable code of conduct, what kind of message does that send?

So it's important, in the end, to face the reality of such bad choices, take responsibility for one's actions and then ultimately strive to repair one's reputation.

Despite the mess he's found himself in, it appears Rick Montreal is choosing a new path for the future. That's the right kind of message to send to kids.

Montreal's willingness to sit down and talk with me for this week's story is proof that he's willing to accept whatever consequences come his way.

He is saying the right things. He's sorry, he's taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again, and he's aware that the whole thing doesn't reflect well on his personal reputation or on the reputation of the School District.

But it appears that his words are being followed up with action, which is all anyone can hope for at this juncture. And continued support of family, friends and co-workers will help Montreal through these trying times.

Behind Montreal's desk in his sixth grade classroom is one of those slick posters promoting Nike shoes.

In big letters are the words, "I've failed ... and that's why I succeed."

We learn the most from the mistakes we make. There's no doubt about that.

The only thing we can hope for is that we will learn from the bumps in the road and that we will eventually make fewer mistakes.

Rick Montreal knows that truth better than most, thanks to his drunken driving conviction.

Even though his legal troubles will be the talk of the community for days to come, he has the opportunity to land on his feet and restore his good name. It might take time, but he says he wants to try.

School officials are solidly behind him as he commits to forging a new path in life. Will the community follow suit and pledge their support?

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