While working on The Examiner’s series, “Just Say Know,” I was surprised at all the good news I uncovered.

While working on The Examiner’s series, “Just Say Know,” I was surprised at all the good news I uncovered.

When Examiner publisher Steve Curd first proposed the series to the sports staff, I wasn’t quite sure what he had envisioned.

Then, a few days after that meeting, I received a phone call from an administrator at a local high school who matter-of-factly asked, “Are you doing a hit piece on (my high school)?”

Isn’t it funny how rumors circulate – especially rumors that are not founded in fact?

First, and foremost, after 28 years at The Examiner – my 29th anniversary is next Wednesday – I don’t write hit pieces and would never be a part of a something that attacks a school, administrator or high school player for the mere purpose of generating publicity.

My stories are founded in fact, that is the stance I take the most pride in concerning “Just Say Know.” While I was a partner in two stories that involved anonymous participants – an active high school coach and one of the premier basketball players in Eastern Jackson County – no one questioned the authenticity of either account.

In fact, the coach called me to congratulate me on the outstanding job of conveying the heartbreaking story of dealing with a son who is battling addiction.

The positive comments that followed “The Parent Trap” feature indicate that there is a real problem with out-of-control parents. One area activities director wrote to ask for permission to include that part of the series in all his future mandatory parental meetings.

For me personally, that was the most ringing and inspirational salute to the series.

In today’s Examiner, we wanted to wrap up the series in a positive fashion, featuring two of the outstanding high school athletes in Eastern Jackson County.

Kieley Culbertson and D’Vante Mosby couldn’t come from more varied backgrounds, yet their stories are identical when it comes to representing their generation.

We could have selected young men like Adam Woods and Nick Richardson, two William Chrisman basketball players who’s Live to Feed program collected hundreds of pounds of non-perishable food items that filled the pantry at the Salvation Army in Independence.

Then there are three-sport standouts like Sara Ruckman and David Franklin who star on the athletic field and in the classroom at Truman High School.

Tyree Meadows is a young overachiever at Grain Valley High School who is hoping to attend a military academy and Oak Grove’s Eric Gant is a role model for anyone who has ever returned from a career-threatening injury, bigger and better than ever.

During the course of this series, I had a long discussion with Truman activities director Eric Holm, and I hope that all Truman parents realize what a special man you have at the helm with it comes to all activities at the high school.

He arrives at school each day at 7 a.m. and opens a computer that is usually filled with countless irate e-mails, yet the morning ritual doesn’t ruin his day.

He loves his job.

He’s good at it.

And he understands that most parents and students are there to enjoy their high school experience. Sure, the noisy and nasty 3 percent that make the most noise are tiresome and difficult to deal with, but when you walk down the hall and are greeted by a Sara Ruckman or David Franklin or any one of the other young men and women who make my job as a sports writer so enjoyable, you realize that life is good.

This past week, we’ve pointed out some warts and highlighted some problems that need to be addressed, but I also hope you’ve enjoyed the stories of the young men and women who avoid the pitfalls of youth.

They are the ones who have impacted all of our lives in such a positive way.