Students must trust importance of school

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 14, 2002

National studies released in the past year say young people don’t spend much time reading the newspaper. If that’s the case in Selma, we hope the parents will pass this one along.

Last week, students in the county and private school systems began classes. Today, our city school students will strap on the backpacks and enter the classroom for the 2002-2003 school year.

These days, most advice about school is given to parents: Get involved; feed your children; check on homework. Today, we’d like to address the students.

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There is no way possible students can understand the value of an education. To comprehend why Shakespeare’s ramblings help later in life is like trying to explain why two hydrogrens and an oxygen make water. Explanations don’t make much sense now, and they shouldn’t.

The purpose of an education is more important than you will ever know. Adults, who have struggled through a successful professional career, often wonder at the purpose of complicated math classes and monotonous reading assignments.

What students must understand is that your education isn’t just about learning how to solve an equation or reciting a line of poetry. The skills learned to work problems lead you beyond the classroom and into the “real world.”

It is true that your first job interview won’t contain complex formulas and Chaucer questions. But your first job interview will require you to think on your own. Those are the skills our schools hone — even though you don’t realize it.

There’s one other reason finishing school is so important. Our school systems teach discipline. They teach the difference between right and wrong; they teach you that being tardy matters and missing too much class hurts your final grade.

Schools also teach the importance of self responsibility. They teach that if you don’t complete an assignment, you will not succeed; they teach that if you talk disrespectfully to an elder, you will be scolded in front of your classmates.

Ask any person who has completed school. Ask if those same principles don’t apply to real-life.

Learn them now, and the rewards in life will be plentiful. Refuse them now, and those rewards will pass you by.