A great number 13

Published 10:04 pm Friday, June 1, 2018

Thirteen students recently made history in Suffolk Public Schools and made it known that they have prepared themselves well for the future.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics related professions is projected to grow to more than 9 million soon. That’s an increase of about 1 million jobs from the number that existed just about six years ago.

These fields cover a wide variety of jobs, including statisticians, food scientists, web developers, wildlife biologists, engineers, chemists, foresters and educators in any of the STEM fields. And that’s not to even get into the many roles available in the health care field, which wasn’t included in those Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers — for, well, statistical reasons — but is most definitely a STEM field.

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In fact, it was the main focus of the Project Lead the Way Biomedical Sciences Program at Lakeland High School, which earlier this week saw the fruits of labor begun several years ago when its inaugural class of 13 graduates donned white coats and smiled for the cameras of many proud parents, other family members, teachers and administrators.

These young people are well on their way to being able to fill some of those many jobs in these growing fields. They took on a demanding high school schedule that included internships, more Advanced Placement classes and more lab work. Some of them went to a high school they were not zoned for in order to attend the magnet program.

If the purpose of a high school education is to prepare graduates for careers and for life, this program has turned out exceptionally well. We congratulate these “guinea pigs,” as they called themselves for being the first graduates, as well as the school division for all of the work that has gone into this program.