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Good luck graduates

May 22, 2012 - Art Smith
Like millions of other high school seniors this month, my daughter Abby will graduate after 13 years of public education.

Collectively the young adults enter a world vastly different than the one they entered as kindergarteners in the fall of 1999. Terrorist attacks on the nation, two wars and the near collapse of the nation’s economy were all current events during the years they spent getting an education.

They will now go their separate ways. In my daughter’s class many are going on to college, others are joining the military and still others are entering trade schools. Abby will be attending Xavier to become a nurse.

Abby is graduating Sunday from Waterford High School, one of the smallest high schools in the area. The 60 or so kids all know one another and all grew up together. In fact, the ones who started in the district as kindergarteners all had the same teacher, Susanne Burchett, who has since retired from the district. I’ve watched them all grow from small children to confident young adults. I will miss seeing them at games, in restaurants and, at times, in my home.

When Abby started school, I wrote a column about how it was hard on the parents to watch their young children start school. Much to the embarrassment of my daughter, the column hung in the office of the elementary school for a few years. I find it no easier to watch her graduate, which is a defining moment for a child and also one for a parent.

Now, in what seems like a blink, she is through high school. Her sister Emily, just three years behind her will finish in 2015.

High school graduates face an uncertain future; the job market is still extremely tight. Many of the new jobs being created do not pay enough to live on. It’s a tough world out there. A lesson that many of them will sadly quickly learn.

To everyone graduating this year, I wish you luck in your post-school world. Be careful out there.


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