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WE CONGRATULATE: Focus of students on difficult road

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Students showing focus and expressing hope, but they also will need flexibilities for next life phase.

We read the reports, and you likely are as amazed as are we. Shelby County’s high school students have earned millions of dollars of scholarships and awards that not only underscore their hard work and academic excellence but also reinforce the careers that some seem entrenched to pursue.

That’s predictable, of course, because of the emphasis on ensuring that students increasingly are ready, willing and eager for the next steps in their lives, whether it’s an Ivy League degree or studying a trade and pursuing a job. We support both lines of thinking and all in between and encourage the exuberant pursuit thereof.

We say this as we find interesting a new bit of data that reports that only about 28 percent of college graduates are finding work in their major areas of study as undergraduates or even graduate-level courses. Some career fields are becoming increasingly difficult to crack, and the effort, diligence and planning of students often are insufficient to do so.

That brings us to a bit of irony: Is there really any way to measure whether a graduating high school senior is ready for college or a career? Some will have strong ideas and have immersed themselves in effort, but the moving world that is the job market often requires not only thinking and planning but rethinking and new planning.

We say this not to deter the more than 400 students from Shelby County who are earning diplomas this year. You have done as you are supposed to do, by and large, and we congratulate you, celebrate you and encourage you.

The world ahead may not sit still and let you conquer it, but if you are focused, flexible and fired up, there’s really not anything that you can’t surmount.

The American Dream is far from dead, but, as we learn continually, it can cost a lot of sleepless nights to accomplish it.