High school graduation is the beginning of the future

Published 10:14 am Monday, May 19, 2014

Graduation day has already come and gone for both college and high school graduates in Carter County and Elizabethton. Graduation was held this weekend in local high schools.
Graduation marks the end of one era for students and beginning of another.
But now comes the homework.
Students are getting ready for the rest of their lives and the next step in the education process. Whether that is going to college, a community college, vocational school or entering the workforce, it’s an important milestone.
It’s no accident that graduation, the ceremony marking the completion of 12th grade, is called commencement. Webster’s defines commencement as to begin, to initiate, to start, to originate.
These mostly 18-year-olds now must choose whether to begin a job or continue their education.
This year’s high school graduates are an outstanding group of young people.
Many of them achieved top scores on their ACT or SAT exams. They represented our community at various levels of competition, and many have given back to their community as volunteers. They have worked hard and excelled in the classroom, in arts, athletics, and other activities.
We are confident as these graduates mature, continue their education, and embark on careers that our future is in good hands.
Parents also deserve a special thank you for all they do for their graduating sons and daughters. They are their children’s first and best teachers. Parental involvement in education is key to a child’s long-term success.
As another school year closes, we must also acknowledge the great work of our teachers, administrators and support staff, and all those who are part of the education of today’s students.
Graduating from high school is an important milestone. Today’s jobs require higher reading and math skills than was true 20 or 30 years ago. This week, Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a measure that will fund two yeas of study for graduating high school seniors at community colleges across the state. This is a great opportunity for this year’s graduates.
A college degree is now recognized as the best path toward a good job.
Tennessee students and families are fortunate that our governor and state legislature have made the accessibility of an affordable, quality education a priority. Local students have many outstanding colleges and universities to attend, and we need to encourage our students to pursue a higher education.
This we do know: that this year’s graduates must be ready to go to work, either in college or in the workforce.
It’s a bittersweet time for the graduates, their families, their teachers, and administrator. It is a time for tears, hugs, goodbyes, and celebration.
Memories that will last a lifetime have been made. In some cases, friends who have known each other since first grade will part ways. Whatever they choose to do, congratulations to all the graduates, their parents, their teachers, their coaches, and everyone who helped get them to this beginning point.
If we had a bit of advice for this year’s graduates, it would be words of English teacher David McCullough Jr., who in 2012 told graduates at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts that a fulfilling and distinctive life is an achievement and not something that will fall into their lap.
“Get busy. Have at it,” McCullough said. “Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you. Get up. Get out. Explore. Find it yourself. Grab hold with both hands … Exercise free will and creative independent thought not for the satisfaction they will bring you, but for the good they will do others.”

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