High school grads face new world

Commentary by
Richard Froese

Another school year will soon end as high school graduates pursue a new stage in their lives.

Graduates are usually in the spotlight in May and June when schools, families and communities celebrate the young adults at graduation ceremonies.

However, the spotlight has darkened. Craduation ceremonies are cancelled or postponed, as the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has closed schools and prohibited inside gatherings of more than 15 people.

Schools and school divisions hope that restrictions will be reduced or eliminated by fall so 2020 graduates get their due honour at full-scale ceremonies in an auditorium with crowds of up to 400 people.

Congratulations to each 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 learn their basic years of education prepare them to flourish as responsible adults who will positively contribute to society, in their communities and out into the world.

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

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

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 makes families, schools and communities more attractive to help build a stronger future.

Let’s trust COVID-19 can be controlled and the restrictions reduced by the end of 2020. Everyone wants to get on with a life closer to their family, friends and community.

One graduating student at High Prairie E.W. Pratt High School told me the 2020 graduation classes have a special distinction. They are known as the Class of COVID-19.

Graduates deserve better than that. Education is never-ending in our journey of lifelong learning.

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 and make us a better person.

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