Over the next two weeks, Meeker and Rangely high schools will also be turning out Class of 2014 graduates, and this is another moment in a teen’s life that all friends, families and neighbors should be proud of them and for them.
High school now is not a walk in the park – if it ever was.
There are new teaching methods, new technologies and new challenges that we older students never had to face. Not to mention the social pressures.
Congratulations, grads. You deserve the accolades.
Once again, however, your work is not done.
Now it is your decision — whether you continue on into higher education, join the military or join the working stiffs out here — to take charge of your own life.
Only you know what is best for you and which trail you wish to follow.
A college education can’t be beat, but it isn’t the answer for everyone.
The average income skyrockets for those who get an associate’s (two year) degree over a high school or GED alone and then increases again sharply for each step after the associate’s degree — a bachelor’s (four year) degree, a master’s degree and a doctorate.
Last week, a national survey stated that the average lifetime income for a person with a doctorate is approximately $900,000 higher than a person with a high school degree or GED.
What the student needs to decide is what they really want to do after high school. It sounds easy, but it isn’t. What they need to decide is what long trail to follow toward retirement.
If they are going to remain in the family business, a college degree may not be necessary. But there are still benefits to be gained from going to college to learn about marketing or some related agriculture education for those who plan to be farmers or ranchers.
When you graduates decide what it is you want to do, the next step is to find out what is required to get there.
If you want to be a marine biologist, an English teacher, a priest or preacher or an engineer, then college will be a necessity. If you want to be a college administrator or move up the ladder in the corporate world, an advanced degree like a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or doctorate will be a great move.
There are also classes that will help a student who wants to become a secretary, a bookkeeper, a dental hygienist (which can pay really well), a maintenance person or an auto repair specialist. Even an auto mechanic is going to need certifications, which can be attained at some community colleges in the country.
Are degrees needed for all of these things? No. Just some classes to teach you the advanced basics of whatever job you want — and classes that will often put you out there ahead of other job candidates.
In auto mechanics, you can get all 12 auto ASE repair certifications and combine those with an associate’s degree, depending on the college.
I would say that to obtain a college degree has never been easier.
There are local classes through a community college nearby.
There are online classes in which a student almost anywhere can graduate from any major institution of higher learning without ever leaving the confines of their home computer rooms.
And there are the college campuses for students who live close by or for students who wish to purse the on-campus college life.
No one situation is a fit-all mold.
It will take some research, but if you can match up with the right technical college, in-state university, online university or set sail across the country to another college or university, your education will fit you like a glove and last you for the rest of your lifetime.
While I do believe that obtaining a college degree has never been easier, I must also add that it has never been more expensive. This has always been a problem.
A major part of the eduction puzzle is the cost of college.
Obviously, it should be cheapest at a trade or community college like Colorado Northwestern Community College, more expensive at a state university, ranging in size from the small universities like Colorado Mesa University, followed by the major universities like the University of Colorado in Boulder or Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Then, for those who can afford it, there are the schools like Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and UCLA.
The cost can run from a bargain to a blowout.
But there are also scholarships, federal student loans and Pell grants that help ease the pain and the cost.
But not enough can be said about the importance of doing what makes you happy and what pays the bills.
Regardless of which direction you go, make certain that it is something you enjoy and can look forward to working at for possibly up to 40 or 50 years.
Whether a sanitary worker, a forest ranger, a heavy equipment operator, a scientist, a kitchen worker or a business worker with sights on the governor’s mansion, check you passion, educate yourself to carry out whatever the job needs are, then become the very best you can be.
Nothing can be worse than being down the road 10 or 20 years and deciding that what you are doing is not fun, not satisfying and driving you crazy (or to drink).
Please take the time to decide your future. You are the one who is going to have to live that life.
Spread your wings. Soar to your best!
Baron Pierre de Cubertin of France, the founder of the modern Olympic games and the International Olympic Committee, established the motto of the games to be: Citius, Altius, Fortius, which means faster, higher, stronger.
But more important was the Olympic Creed he coined: “The most important thing is not to win, but to have taken part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
Such it is with three Destination Imagination teams from Meeker heading to the global competition this week competing most likely against hundreds (if not thousands) of teams from more than 100 nations.
These teams from Meeker Elementary School have already conquered at the local, regional, district and national levels and are getting ready to fight well at the globals.
The kids are already winners. The kids already deserve vast congratulations to have reached the world stage.
Whether they finish first, 20th or 50th at globals, we all know that countless hours turned in by the teams’ advisors and the students themselves have demonstrated their willingness to compete and to have fought well.
Best of luck on your journey; you are winners!