Congratulations to Suffolk graduates

Published 7:53 pm Monday, June 21, 2010

As they walked across the stage on Saturday, the graduating seniors of Lakeland High School formally closed out the springtime commencement season for 2010. Receiving congratulations and a diploma from Lakeland’s principal, Dr. Thomas A. Whitley, each of the graduating Cavaliers joined a larger class on Saturday — that of Suffolk’s Class of 2010 and that of the adults who contribute to society every day.

By today, most of the parties are over, and many of the former high school students will have started summer jobs or summer vacations. Some will be thinking about the transition they will be making to college in a couple of months, and some will find that they must make an immediate start to their search for a career.

Whatever the long-term plans they might have — and whichever school sent them on their way — Suffolk’s newest graduates have much to be proud of. The distractions for today’s teens from the work of earning an education are greater and more varied than their parents ever could have imagined. And graduates this year had to navigate a dangerous course of temptations that easily could have derailed any goals they had hoped to achieve. The temptations are hardly new. What is new, however, is the degree of exposure. Those Suffolk teens who stood strong against such temptations deserve our hearty congratulations.

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We hope, however, that this will not long be considered the high point of these graduates’ lives. There is so much more to accomplish, there are so many more goals to be met, and becoming a high school graduate should be but a stepping stone on the path toward meeting those goals. Whether in the realm of education, career, family or community service, a high school diploma should be looked at not as an end unto itself, but rather a means to a greater end, a tool that will help its owner accomplish even more.

Set higher goals, Class of 2010. Nobody ever accomplished much by thinking to himself, “That’s good enough. There’s no need to strain myself.” As you’ve probably heard someone say by now, you are the future of Suffolk and of America. But it’s up to you to decide when things are good enough. How hard are you willing to work?