Cyndi's Two Cents

Graduates prepare for future

Commentary.

Two of our favorite high school students are winding down their senior year. They are wrapping up their FFA careers and giving their mothers roses on “senior night” at their final athletic competitions. They are attending proms, taking final exams, and packing their bags for a senior trip.

Graduation is days away.

Paige and Ethan are among thousands of young men and women who grew up on farms or in rural communities that will graduate from high schools and colleges this month. If you are one of those grads or someone capable of influencing a grad today, remember that only a fraction of those in the work force arrive in their dream jobs early in their careers.

A good old-fashioned work ethic can set you apart and open doors in any college classroom or career field.

Show your gratitude to those who help and support you. Listen. Be respectful but not intimidated by your teachers or members of management at your job. Be bold in seeking new opportunities. Stand up straight. Use common sense. Live within your means. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t text and drive. Speak clearly. Walk with determination. Finish what you start. Don’t sacrifice your integrity to “get ahead.” Don’t forget what you learned on the farm.

Paige and Ethan are both headed to 4-year universities. Paige will study agricultural education and pursue a Bachelor of Science degree with plans to become a high school ag teacher.

Ethan plans to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree, followed by a Doctor of Medicine degree. Growing up raising cattle, he spent many hours walking through cattle pastures with his parents, examining feces to determine the health of the herd. A quick visual examination guides the stockman on nutritional needs and illness. With further testing of the feces, presence of worms and different diseases can be found.

This experience in animal agriculture inspired Ethan to set his sights on becoming a gastroenterologist.

Not every high school senior I know is headed off to earn a degree or two from a major agricultural university – or from any university for that matter. Several young men and women I know are headed to tech schools and community colleges where they will get the training needed to become members of the workforce in this country. Others will jump straight into the workforce, learning on the job.

We need them all.

We need agronomists, truck drivers, engineers, equipment operators, veterinarians, nurses, chemists, and electricians. We need farmers, ranchers, teachers, and preachers.

We need every single one of those high school graduates to have a job and become an active member of society and the community in which they live.

They will pay taxes. They will vote.

Today’s high school graduates hold the future of our country in their hands. Let us encourage them, inspire them, engage them, and challenge them whether they are heading off to Cornell or to the local community college. We need them as much as they need us.

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