06/09/06 — Reasons to be very proud: Another school year is finished, with much to remember

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Reasons to be very proud: Another school year is finished, with much to remember

Thursday afternoon, Wayne County teachers and students stopped to mark another passage — the ending of yet another school year.

Beginning this evening, high schools around the county will celebrate a tradition, too — saying goodbye to the hundreds of high school seniors who have finished their public school careers.

It is not unusual for communities to talk about a lot about education. We critique test scores, wonder about the use of funding — and sometimes even lament what we think might be lacking in the “next generation.”

That’s the luxury of being an adult. Everything always looks lacking in comparison to our own idyllic childhood experiences. Our parents suffered from the same affliction.

But as we get ready to set aside another school year, we need to think about the many reasons we should be proud of the Class of 2006 and the hundreds of children in all grade levels who are the heart and soul of this county’s schools.

Along with some of the bad news, there have been many, many stories of young people here who have made their community proud. Some have exceled in the classroom, while others have shown their prowess on the athletic fields — and still others have been stars in both arenas. We have talented musicians, actors, singers and writers, and there are artists we will see again, some day.

There will be many scholarships awarded at the graduation ceremonies this weekend. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be go to many of our county’s best and brightest as they start their college careers. We will probably hear many of their names again, too.

But, in addition to all of those reasons to honor our students of all ages, there is another, much more uncommon reason to remember these young people.

Some of them have been through some pretty rough experiences this year. They have watched a classmate suffer a devastating injury or have had to say goodbye to friends whose lives ended much too soon.

In each case, these young people showed compassion, grace and dignity as they dealt with tragedies that would be hard for some adults to manage. They stood together, strong, and worried about each other before thinking of their own needs.

And that, above all others, is a reason for all of us cynical adults to have a whole lot of faith in Wayne County’s next generation.

Published in Editorials on June 9, 2006 11:22 AM