Thirteen - or more - years have been dedicated to the routine of going to school.
But on Saturday, approximately 500 young people will end their formative education and move into the "real world."
High school graduation is a success story in itself. The technology and opportunities available in today's society extend far beyond the realm of those of us who graduated 10, 20 or more years ago. But the basic rule of education still remains — success is only achieved by hard work and careful consideration for the future. Fortunately, most high school graduates have a plan for their future and for females, that plan is extended far beyond just getting married and having children. One of the greatest concepts of education today is the realization that the future cannot be determined by dependence on another person (i.e., getting married and living happily ever after). Females have become empowered — realizing that their future greatly depends upon their individual achievements and efforts — and not a goal to just populate the Earth with children and be a stay-at-home mother and/or wife.
These young people have reached the age in which they must decide what path their future will take and for most, that includes some definite plans for continuing their education or finding a job making enough money to support themselves. Our children have, inevitably, reached an age of accountability - one that has been accented by the many teachers and parents and family members who have had a positive (or negative) influence on their lives.
Each year, the school systems announce the tremendous amounts of scholarship money received by the graduating classes. Millions of dollars funnel into this county each year for those students who have made the extra effort to achieve, to work toward their dreams, to ensure a brighter future for themselves and their current and future families. Each year, dozens of students convene to accept their awards, to herald their hours of studying and practicing athletic, academic and fine arts skills.
It is always an honor to congratulate the students who have achieved their goal. High school is not an easy force to deal with. There are peer pressures, worldly pressures and the challenge of succeeding academically. Many students hold down part time jobs while attending school, others are involved in year-round extracurricular activities such as sports or cheering or band. Others find work in factories, offices or other options. College, military, vocational training are all options available to those who wish to further their future.
You have done well, Class of 2019. Relish in your achievements, celebrate your success. But always remember those who helped and encouraged you along the way - parents, teachers, family members, friends and school administrators.
Congratulations and best wishes!