Regarding the April 16 letters “Changing course for the kids”:

I feel tremendous sympathy for the parents who lost children to suicide. My wife and I recall that when we first moved to Fairfax County in the mid-1990s, we often heard parents stressing about their children getting into elementary-level gifted and talented programs. Our daughter and son graduated from Fairfax High in the early to mid-2000s, and they participated in varsity sports and extra-curricular activities and had great counselors. While they were good students, they did not earn grades as high as some of their higher-achieving classmates. The best thing that happened to our son was not being accepted to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology; he was able to stay with friends with whom he attended elementary school. We never asked our children how well their classmates performed; all we asked was whether they had done the best they could. When they were looking at colleges, we gave them three criteria: Get into the best schools they could, get the best education they could and have as much fun as they could.

Our daughter graduated from Syracuse University in 2007 and our son from Williams College in 2009. They were never unduly stressed out. It all starts at home. Schools can only do so much.

Roger L. Powell, Fairfax City