This is a season of great accomplishment and celebration for many of our students as they transition from high school to the adult world of college, work and career. Why do we celebrate what it has taken to reach this goal, and why should we continue our support processes?
Congratulations to Graduates
At Lakeside Educational Network, located in Greater Philadelphia, we have four different schools, all of which have graduation ceremonies. For each school, we acknowledge how our students have overcome numerous obstacles, faced overwhelming challenges in academics, relationships and personal circumstances.
Due to such a barage of obstacles, many would wonder if they could ever reach the goal of graduation. However, because our students continue to beat the odds against them, it is truly exciting to hear their stories, witness their accomplishments and celebrate their victories.
For them, graduation is a pinnacle signifying an important phase of life.
It takes a community
We recognize that such an accomplishment is not achieved by the student alone.
It has taken a host of dedicated individuals: parents, school districts, juvenile probation department officers, our teachers, behavior managers, casemanagers and a network of friends and family members. Truly, our graduations are a community event.
I do like that image when it comes to our teenagers.
We can acknowledge and comment about what happens at Lakeside. However, what we do is, to some degree, true of every high-schooler. The cumulative effort of teachers, administrators and family members makes this journey possible.
Proud of all students’ achievements
I am very proud of all of our students across our country and beyond who have achieved this significant accomplishment. I celebrate each of you and congratulate both students and families.
However, most life-defining decisions are still ahead: decisions about college, career-pursuits, who to marry…are all part of this vital next phase in each of their lives.
Why it is essential to continue to support our graduates
We often think that the support graduates need can be less because they are in the process of leaving home. Yet, this is probably the most significant time to influence them because it is the time they will make key decisions that will impact the rest of their lives.
I urge parents, families, caretakers and significant individuals in the lives of our students to stay attuned and aware to the issues that our graduates are facing. Society’s huge challenges now confront them. Our job market is questionable and our emotional climate often causes confusion and difficulties.
This is a time where students need more family, not less
As we celebrate all that our students have accomplished, let us not forgot that the next few years are the most important in their lives.
It is a great time for coaching, guiding, encouraging and staying in touch with them as they step through this growth. It can be rewarding as well as beneficial for their community to continue to offer encouragement, hope and guidance.
Once again, I congratulate all of our graduates and their families. I do hope that each of you recognizes what a great accomplishment you have achieved. I also hope that you recognize these next few years are just as important, as you make decisions about vital issues that will impact you and your family.
Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network