The recent shootings and murders in Southeast D.C. that have been in the news are of grave concern to those of us who live and work there. Unfortunately, these actions contribute to the negative stereotypes that many have of Southeast youth.

I wish the media could have been with me the other morning at an assembly at Ballou Senior High School. About 700 students and faculty had gathered to hear an address by singer, actress and author Della Reese. She gave a stirring message that I am sure motivated many to do their best in any endeavor. She was funny, down-to-earth and just plain good.

But what impressed me most was the students. Here were young people who immediately became quiet when the principal asked them. These students were enthusiastic and responsive, but also courteous and attentive. And the talent of the Ballou male chorus and the concert choir was outstanding. I was touched!

In St. John's gospel, Philip went to his brother to say he had found Jesus. Nathaniel's response was: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said, "Come and see." To the many in this area who ask, "Can anything good come out of Southeast?" I say, "Come and see!"

REV. BOB MATHIEU Pastor, Anacostia Gospel Chapel Washington