Now the real work begins for the Class of 2014

Published 6:49 pm Saturday, May 24, 2014

You are the future, the leaders of tomorrow, the ones who will make a difference, those for whom nothing is promised but everything is expected.

Forgive us as we combine many of the clichéd sayings you likely heard at a recent high school or college graduations. We were there. We heard them as well.

For all the clichéd phrases and reincarnated speeches, there is so much truth told at graduation. And there are none more worthy of highlighting than the constant reminders of “this is our time.”

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In these few words — often used by a valedictorian or salutatorian in their address — lies the most important impact graduation, specifically high school graduation, has on our community.

For recent graduates, this is their time, their chance, to have an impact on not only their lives, but the overall life of their community with what choices they make beginning now.

For some, the next step is college. For others, it is learning a trade. And, for others, it is the search for a job and way of life.

Regardless of the path, these high school graduates have reached a milestone that sadly far too many of their counterparts do not reach.

At this time of year, we are often reminded of those who did not reach this point in their educational journey. For far too many, the choice to drop out of school was one that was too easy to pass up, or one that was one not made important enough to fight for.

The potential life-long earning difference of those with a high school diploma and those without a diploma is staggering.

And, for years, the drop out numbers within schools in Dallas County has been disappointing to say the least. In recent years, those figures have been improving, but we must all agree that one high school drop out is one too many.

As we salute the graduates, we also take time to salute their parents, their grandparents, their family members and any others who helped made getting an education a priority, something worth fighting for and something worth achieving.

To the graduates of the Class of 2014, this is your chance, this is you time, to shape the world around you and to shape not only your future, but our future. You are the leaders of tomorrow, the leaders we are counting on.