Valdosta Daily Times

May 3, 2013

Congratulations, graduates

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — It’s an exciting time for students preparing for their graduations from Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and Valdosta State University today and tomorrow. These graduates will enter a job market that is far better than the ones faced by their predecessors over the last several years. Demand for those with technical and college degrees by employers is increasing, as jobs become more complex in today’s technical world.

Students with a high school degree will always have opportunities but not well-paid ones, while those who continue their education have a far better chance to improve their personal circumstances with a degree.

It’s more important today than it has ever been that children are taught to value education. To venerate education. You can steal a person’s worldly goods, but their education and knowledge cannot be taken from them.

Graduation rates are still too low. The emphasis in many households is still on extracurricular activities and not where it belongs, in the classroom. Children without early access to books and computers and without parents who read to them are so far behind the learning curve when they arrive in kindergarten that it is difficult, if not impossible, for them to ever catch up to where they need to be.

Children need opportunities to learn in loving and caring environments in order to succeed. The parents and families of those who will receive degrees this weekend should be proud of the encouragement they have provided to these students. They should be congratulated and these graduates should be applauded for their hard work and dedication.

Now, as a community and a society, we need to figure out how to provide that same encouragement to all children, even if their families can’t or won’t. And as a community and a society, we need to put our priorities on education first. Even the greatest athletes need a solid education to succeed.