Bakersfield really needs to seize opportunities if it wants to move beyond pejorative characterization as the armpit of California, I remember the slogan “catch the valley fever…”

I recently heard speculation that there could be a Buck Owens high school and thought Bakersfield could do so much better ("KHSD reveals top 8 names for newest high school," Sept. 4). There are many signs in town that showcase the legends of the Bakersfield Sound, maybe that can be enough credit?

Or maybe it’s time to think about the values that best reflect hope for the future and the needs of the community?

It is not a complaint about musicians and the arts; as a Scotsman I can listen to Highland alumnus Jonathan Davis a la his band Korn all the same. “Shoots and Ladders” brings me great nostalgia and even pride in our bagpipes.

There are truly great people in Bakersfield, and they serve the community. Honoring that and recognizing the service would be great. It is a great pedagogical method. Twenty years later, I still remember the community service from Richard Quiring’s class. I now follow this best practice in my own classroom.

When you give prominence to people like Wendy Wayne, you amplify the values they embody. Her legacy doesn’t need the recognition — students do. High school students will have to deal with the problems we’ve created. Looking to a woman who devoted her life to service makes sense. Start students with a focus on a life of meaning.

Wim Laven, Bakersfield