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Roads for High School Graduates

Congratulations, high school graduates!  You’ve successfully completed thirteen years of education and this week you’ll receive diplomas during graduation ceremonies. 

            As students you’ve added layers of knowledge.  You’ve counted by tens and added fractions and found the area of rectangles and solved A x 2 + B x + C = y.  You’ve learned to write d and b with lines on the right and left sides of circles and the difference between a synonym and antonym and how to write an essay.  You’ve heard about civilizations and wars and compromises and peace treaties. You’ve identified seven continents and five oceans and can explain how the Earth rotates and revolves.  

            You’ve gained experience interacting with peers.  On the playground, you waited your turn to go down a slide.  You worked with classmates on small group science projects and social studies reports.  You performed with a group: a sports team, a dance team, a choral presentation, a play, or a debate.

            Everything about your last two months of high school has been different than expected, than planned. But some things haven’t changed: you’ve followed instructions and directions from teachers and coaches and parents. I can hear you say, “Now, I can do whatever I want,” because that’s what eighteen-year-old high school graduates usually think, even us grandparents had such a thought.

              So, now what?  The COVID19 pandemic might limit your plans, but your life as a graduate will be different from that of a high school student.  Some of you will head off to higher learning:  vocational schools, colleges, universities.  Some will start full-time jobs.  Some will combine school and work.  Some will join the armed forces.  Some will accept more home responsibilities. 

            I wish for words of wisdom to ease these transitions, these travels on new paths, new roads.  Two quotes come to mind:  take the road less travelled and take the high road.

            In an English class you probably heard Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.”  The last lines read, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”   Those words remind me of when my dad said, “Just because everyone one else is doing it, doesn’t mean you do it.”  And Dad’s example was the foolish one that is joked about – just because everyone else jumps off a tall building, are you going to? 

            Will you take the low road or high road? According to an old Scottish tune, the low road is longer and easier while the high road is shorter, but much more arduous.  Taking the more difficult high road has come to mean when faced with choices the high road is the morally right choice.  Take the more ethical option, the one that lets you have a clear conscience, the one you’ll be glad for your parents and everyone who loves you to know about.             Graduates

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