“Education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. … We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The graduating class of 2020 will experience the most unusual commencement ever. Not only will they be getting their diplomas online, but most graduation parties will have to be held with social distancing in mind. This class of 2020 will be a strong class for a number of reasons.
Through their lifetimes they’ve seen numerous deadly hurricanes, school shootings, the explosion of space shuttle Columbia, many terrorist attacks including 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. They’ve witnessed the birth of the Internet, a whole new world of electronic devices, online bullying, sexting and amped up multi-tasking.
They’ve observed how government works, through the various investigations concerning political leaders. They’ve seen scandal after scandal unfold right before their eyes. Wars have been waged. There have been ups and downs in the economy. For a very long time, they’ve been blessed with plenty from a material standpoint. Morality has also taken a hit during this time passage as well as record suicides, depression and loneliness. The final straw came this year with the COVID19 pandemic, cutting short their final year of high school.
This could be a recipe for disaster, but it can also be a starting point for these young adults taking their first step into the real world. This year’s seniors have had to give up so much – senior prom, class trips, concerts, sporting events and academic events. It’s a sad state of affairs to miss more than half of your final year of high school.
Challenges create doers – the movers and the shakers of the future. With all they’ve already seen in their short lives, they’re definitely prepared to take on the problems and obstacles of life. These are the future leaders of America. They will know what it takes to deal with violence, hatred, crime, depression and fear. They will become the scientists who find a cure for unstoppable diseases. They will be the teachers using the tools at hand to educate out future leaders. They will be the artists who bring pleasure to the world through entertainment, fine art, dance and theatre. They have the experience to see the best way to solve problems of the past and they will solve them. Some will become politicians and work to fix the issues that haunt our government. Some will share their talents through mathematics and engineering. Others will go into law enforcement or fill the much needed trade industries. Whatever they choose to do, they will an asset to society.
The future is so uncertain, but their learning will continue. They’re a step ahead with their life experiences. Every time we progress from one stage to another, we’re starting over. We challenge ourselves to move on, to pursue the unknown, to take chances.
The key to turning knowledge into success comes with how you use your life to change the world. Not every graduate will do that, but what a motivator. We continue traveling through life until death comes and with it the end of our searching. If we choose to live without purpose our goals, we’ll soon wither away. With each step of education, we carry what we’ve learned to the next level – always doing so with intelligence along with character.
So, even though this graduation class will have missed out on a few “lasts” they’ve learned to face life with courage and determination. Congratulations!