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Life after graduation

Education unlocks our world. Since we were children, we’ve watched, we’ve read, we’ve repeated, we’ve  learned. All skills, those lessons have armed us with the information we’ve relied on to take us into adulthood.

This past weekend, students from around the Harlem Valley celebrated their many years of learning with that unmistakable rite of passage: graduation.

Classmates, teachers, administrators, parents and friends have all contributed to our students’ success. They took their collective experiences from local life to that graduation stage and proudly accepted their diplomas. And, oh, what those smiling, eager graduates have learned.

We hope, for one thing, that they’ve learned to be open to education. Students — and we are all students from birth till death — must accept the fact that there is much they do not know. They must embrace the educational process. They must acknowledge there are those who know more, those who are able to teach, those who are willing to share their wisdom.

This does not mean that they should accept information blindly. They should do their due diligence, check their sources, research and evaluate. We have to be critical learners, and judicious in what we accept as fact. Hopefully these skills have been taught and nurtured — they are fundamental to our youth growing into smart, capable adults.

Today’s graduates should use their wits to determine what’s right and what’s wrong. They should have, we hope, a strong moral compass. They should have a sense of fairness. They should have a sense of appropriateness. They should be responsible, dependable and resilient.

We’ve all ensured that our children get the academic background needed to be a success. They’ve learned the basics — hopefully more than the basics. Ideally they excel in reading and writing, math and science. But, realistically, not everyone can be great in everything. The best we can do is give our children the tools they’ll need to navigate through the world successfully as competent, smart people. 

Graduates, congratulations on your accomplishments. Now it’s time for you to venture out into the world, ever mindful that keeping attuned to reality is paramount in maneuvering through the highs and lows life has in store for you. Fantasy no more, your futures are waiting.