Hundreds of high school seniors will take some of the biggest steps of their young lives this weekend as most Brown County high schools invite them to walk across a stage and accept diplomas during this year’s graduation exercises. Congratulations are in order, because these ceremonies represent years of hard work and investment by not only the graduates, but also their parents and educators.

As significant as this moment is, however, graduation is hopefully only one in a series of meaningful experiences that await each young person wearing a cap and gown.

Some may already have jobs, but they probably have not embarked upon a career — work that will not only sustain them financially, but also inspire them to service to their communities and neighbors while fulfilling their inner goals in a satisfying manner. Other personal milestones also await many graduates, such as marriage and family.

Statistics suggest that a significant percentage of this year’s graduates will not be leaving the classroom behind after they leave their high school campuses. Opportunities for further education abound, and they range from short-term training courses to certification in specific trades, to associate’s degrees in technical or junior colleges, to four-year bachelor’s programs and more.

The world for which today’s graduates are preparing, and have already been prepared to some extent, offers some daunting challenges, to be sure. But it also presents them with more opportunities than any class in history has ever seen. Education is the key to meeting both successfully, and the diploma they are being handed this spring represents an important foundation upon which to build throughout their lifetimes.

Brownwood Bulletin