Hundreds of high school seniors will take one of the biggest — and most important — steps of their young lives this weekend as most Brown County high schools hold commencement exercises. Congratulations are most definitely in order, because the diplomas they receive represent years of hard work and investment by not only the graduates, but also their parents and teachers.

Yet, the hope remains that as important as this big day is, graduation will be only the first in a series of big days for each young person.

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 high school graduates will not be leaving the classroom behind just because they are picking up that high school diploma. Opportunities for further education are abundant, and they range from short-term training courses to certification in specific trades, and from associate’s degrees in technical or junior colleges to four-year bachelor’s programs.

The world today’s graduates are preparing, and have been prepared, to enter presents more opportunities than any class before them has ever seen, but they also confront more challenges. Education is the key to meeting both, and it’s a lifelong process.

Brownwood Bulletin