Commentary – High school grads face the world

Richard Froese

School is winding down for another year.

‘Tis the season to celebrate graduation!

Congratulations to all students who graduate from area high schools. It’s been a challenging school year as the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions continue.

At least schools are able to hold graduation ceremonies.

Only the graduating students and school staff are permitted for graduation festivities that must be held in the school gymnasium during school hours.

That’s a lot more than many schools were allowed to do one year ago, just three months into the worldwide pandemic.

Many larger schools did not hold official 2020 graduation ceremonies. Schools were closed in 2020 from March 16, just days after the worldwide pandemic was declared, until the end of the school year in June.

One year later, the picture is more optimistic. Virtually, more people are able to watch the ceremonies. Most schools broadcast the ceremonies online.

Despite the restrictions, there’s a silver lining in that. After COVID restrictions are lifted and schools can hold graduation ceremonies with crowds, the broadcasts will likely continue to allow everyone to watch from far and beyond.

Congratulations to each 2021 high school graduate in the Peace River, Falher, High Prairie and Slave Lake regions. All the best in the next phase of life as you become leaders of the future wherever you are planted.

Graduating from high school is the greatest milestone in the journey for young people, to complete what many students may consider are 13 grueling years.

Yet those are rewarding years when graduates reflect on their school days many years down the road.

After they graduate, students will eventually learn their basic years of education prepare them to flourish as responsible adults who will positively contribute to society, in their communities and out in the world.

From kindergarten to Grade 12, teachers and educational experiences in school have grounded you to become mature young adults ready to influence others wherever you are and whatever you do in your role or career.

While education starts at home with parents teaching values and morals, schools are also a key pillar in the education of youth.

Every adult in the community has and can play a vital role to build our students and children, right from a very young age, to become mature and responsible adults themselves.

Children and students often look up to adults as mentors and role models. Whether we have children or not in the local school system, let’s be examples for our younger generation to follow. Show youth that you care for them and love them. Take a proactive approach to make friends with a child and youth.

As children see more and more supportive adults and parents, they too, will want to grow up to be like those models.

When more people, from younger generations to seniors, show more respect for themselves, others, and the community, life can be so much better and healthier and safer for everyone. Over time and generations, this will make families and schools and communities more attractive to help build a stronger future.

Education is never-ending in our journey of lifelong learning.

Everyone is learning a lot of positive things from the COVID-19 pandemic to make our lives better.

Whether you’re a young student at home “in class” learning online or an adult long out of school, something new always comes along in life to stretch us, strengthen us and make us a better person.

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