Regarding the Jan. 23 front-page article “Many want it gone. But this federal program won’t die.”:

As a middle-school science teacher, I have had the opportunity to mentor more than 400 students in the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation awards competition since 2005. My students and thousands of others across the country who participate are inspired to help the community using science and technology. The result of participating is so much more than the two patents and the few inventions described in this story.

Each year I watch children leave their comfort zones and contact scientists, medical professionals, business owners and community members for research and advice. I witness them design and conduct experiments and outreach programs based on their research. I see them rework their solutions if they don’t get them right the first time. Most important, I see them pursue science and technology in high school and STEM programs in college.

As stated by James H. Herring, this opportunity is a national treasure. Congress and President Obama should not be asking how we can afford this program. They should be asking how can we not afford this program.

Eileen Anderson, West Islip, N.Y.