Memories danced as I read the tribute to Hugh Semple [``A genuine YFOGI is forever,'' Jan. 28] -- that large-spirited lover of life's intricacies, who taught us so well. Over 20 years ago I sat in his classroom and felt smart. Yes, he expanded our vast funds of general information, helped us to integrate facts, and passed on the excitement of understanding current events, but most of all Mr. Semple loved his students, and we left his class loving ourselves. Nancy Leatzow Monroe Center, Ill. Our family was thrilled to read recognition of Stillwater Junior High School [``Award-winning junior high thrives on recipe of sharing and caring''], Jan. 25.
Our orientation for our son was three years ago. The principal's enthusiasm was memorable, convincing us parents that he and his staff were as eager to meet and teach these new seventh-graders as the students were to have finally ``arrived.''
Also, the principal set aside time each day of the school year to reach one parent and let them know what a special kid he or she had.
The students felt cared about at a fragile and fast paced time of their lives, and the staff's positive approach nurtured parents as well. Joy Virden Bethesda, Md. Climbing the ladder
In the issue of Jan. 25, the article about George Bush's 1988 political plans contained a puzzling statement concerning the history of sitting vice-presidents who contemplate running for the highest office [``Bush must tread lightly on road to '88, analysts say''].
To quote: ``Only once -- in 1836 -- has a vice-president been elected directly to the presidency. That was Martin Van Buren.''
Our first two vice-presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both succeeded directly, in 1797 and 1801, to the presidency, by vote of the electoral college. Robert W. Sharts Dunedin, Fla. Missing children
A Chicago dairy's printing of pictures of missing children on milk cartons could start a new dimension in cooperation among industry, society, and law enforcement agencies. Cereal boxes are even more ideal because they are sitting on the table rather than in the refrigerator and have a longer shelf life for study. This could help to deter some child stealing and abuse. The boxes could also list hot-line numbers. Isn't it time we used this valuable source of communication?
Thanks to the Chicago dairy! Cooperation is mutually beneficial to industry and the public. Bette Lising Texas City, Texas Abortion
Re ``Civility in the abortion debate,'' Jan. 24:
I agree, civility is certainly needed by both sides in the abortion debate.
Until the basic problem is recognized and discussed -- avoiding sensationalism, emotionalism, and virulence -- there will be no solution to the abortion problem. Mary Ann Butwick Kansas City, Kan.
Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''