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Break tradition: lengthen annual school term

Every year about this time the nagging feeling comes around that perhaps we should re-think traditional school calendars, or more specifically, the nine-month school year broken by a nearly three-month summer vacation.

The majority of industrialized countries don’t use it because that large gap between grade levels is believed to be too lengthy. It breaks the learning cycle and puts the burden on teachers to bring students “back to earth” on vital matters like concentration, recalling what they learned last year and delving into new material.

China, for instance, has a school year that runs from early September to mid-July — some six weeks longer than ours (school days run from 7:30 am-5 pm!).

Japan requires 240 days (vs. 180 here) and gives students three equal breaks from April when new levels begin through March.

In South Korea, the year is divided into two semesters — March to July and September to February — with intervening one-month breathers.

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Angus Combs, 89, of Sanderson dies

Angus Jackson Combs, 89, of Glen St. Mary died Friday, August 3 at the Acosta-Rau Center for Caring in Jacksonville following a long illness. He was born in Sanderson and resided in Baker County all of his life. He was a forest ranger with the Florida Division of Forestry for 28 years before his retirement.

Mr. Combs was a member of the Taylor Church, a Navy veteran of World War II and enjoyed fishing, farming and growing his garden. He was preceded in death by parents Cole Younger Combs Sr. and Effie Mae Sweat Combs, and his daughter Deborah Joan Kennedy.

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Mr. Hamilton, 78, of Glen St. Mary

Thurman Z. Hamilton, 78, died on August 4, 2012 at his home in Glen St. Mary. He was a retired Marine Corps veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars and was preceded in death by Donna, his wife of 15 years.

Mr. Hamilton is survived by daughters Debra (Greg) Ellison of Oklahoma City and Susan Daniel of Middleburg; sons Doug Hamilton of Orange Park and Steven (Lisa) Hamilton of Port St. Lucie; brother Linwood Hamilton of Jacksonville; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on August 9 at 7 pm at Fraser Funeral Home, Jacksonville.

Richard Harvey, 73, of Sanderson

Richard Elbert Harvey, 73, of Sanderson died Thursday, August 2 at the Acosta-Rau Center for Caring in Jacksonville following an extended illness. He was born and resided in Sanderson all of his life, and retired from the sanitation department of the City of Jacksonville after 22 years. He also retired from the Florida Department of Agriculture as a state inspector in 2000 after 20 years of service. He enjoyed all types of sports, particularly the Florida Gator football and baseball teams, and deer hunting.

Mr. Harvey was preceded in death by his parents Donald and Rosie Harvey. He is survived by his wife Jessie Harvey of Sanderson; son Ricky (Rachel) Harvey, brother E.H. (Clarine) Harvey, sister Doris (Tommy) Combs, all of Sanderson; grandchildren, Daniel (Kandace) Harvey, Autumn Harvey, and Amber (Trace) Reynolds; great-grandchildren Jalynn, Dalton and Maddox Harvey.

The funeral service was held at 11 am on August 6, in the chapel of Guerry Funeral Home in Macclenny with Revs. David and Tim Thomas officiating. Interment was in Cedar Creek Cemetery in Sanderson.

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