- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2004

Nobles: Luz Cuevas, for amazing maternal instincts.

Like any mother in similarly tragic circumstances, Miss Cuevas had never fully gotten over the death of her 10-day-old daughter in a house fire six years ago. But there was a twist. The Philadelphia resident never fully believed that Delimar Vera had died in the fire. Fire investigators had declared the blaze an accident, caused by an overheated extension cord attached to a space heater. The infant’s remains were, thought to have been consumed in the fire.

But her doubts nagged; her hopes haunted.

They were realized in a flash of recognition. At a birthday party this past January, Miss Cuevas saw the girl she knew was her daughter. She realized that she needed proof, so, pretending to remove a piece of gum from the child’s head, Miss Cuevas snipped a few pieces of hair.

That was the easy part. Miss Cuevas had to convince someone reputable to do something with her tale. She eventually convinced State Rep. Angel Cruz to take the samples and the story to authorities. DNA tests proved that Miss Cuevas had told the truth.

This week, Carolyn Correa, who had kidnapped Delimar from her crib and set the fire to cover the crime, surrendered to police. Meanwhile, Miss Cuevas was reunited with her now 6-year-old daughter and plans to take her back to the city of brotherly — and motherly — love.

For love and persistence above and beyond even the high calling of being a mother, Miss Cuevas is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Former University of Georgia basketball coach Jim Harrick Jr., for an egregiously easy exam.

About a year ago, Mr. Harrick was fired from his job as Georgia’s assistant basketball coach after being accused of academic fraud. This week, the university released 1,500 pages of documents in response to the subsequent investigation. Included was the final exam that Mr. Harrick gave for the Principles and Strategies of Basketball course he taught in the fall of 2001.

Even by jock standards, the final was a joke. It had two essay questions: “Diagram the 3-point line”; and “Diagram the half-court line.” The rest of the 20 head-scratchers were multiple choice howlers like, “How many halves are in a college basketball game?” “How many points does a 3-point field goal account for in a basketball game?” Perhaps the most amazing thing about the exam was that it did not have any extra-credit questions. (Suggestion: “Name one basketball player in the hall of fame.”)

The only person not appalled was Mr. Harrick. Last week, he filed a federal lawsuit against university officials for defamation. In their defense, university attorneys should make liberal use of his final.

For his contemptuous treatment of his students and the academic system, Mr. Harrick is the knave of the week.

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