A choice to persevere

Published 8:53 pm Saturday, August 2, 2014

High school graduation ceremonies always inspire pride of accomplishment — both for the graduates and for their families. But a graduation ceremony for just 28 students on Thursday at Lakeland High School was cause for an even more special sense of completion.

In some ways, the summer graduation ceremony held each year by Suffolk Public Schools for those who were short the necessary credits to graduate with their peers is an even more uplifting event than the ones held in June, with all their pomp and circumstance.

A high school diploma is almost mandatory for anyone who wishes to be successful in a career as an adult. But when students — for any number of reasons — get behind in their work and find themselves just short of the requirements for that diploma, the temptation can be strong to just give up and move on.

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The 28 students who earned their diplomas after finishing their coursework in summer school this year, however, showed a commitment to their education, a perseverance, that even their friends who graduated in June did not. Faced with the choice between getting the best jobs they could find and maybe pursuing a GED one day or finishing their work in summer school and crossing the stage to receive their diplomas, they marched on ahead.

Their choice to persevere and achieve an important goal improves their chances of future success. As important, however, that choice — and the reward that came from it — should teach them a valuable life lesson about delayed gratification.

Worthwhile goals are hardly ever easy to reach, and they normally come with some measure of sacrifice. That may be the most important lesson these students learned in summer school.

Congratulations to the summer graduates from Suffolk Public Schools for finishing well. And congratulations, also, for making such an important choice. You’ll never be sorry for doing it.