Congratulations, Class of 2014!
With the recitation of a few speeches and the tossing of mortarboards, the Class of 2014 will be sent into the real world this weekend. Local seniors from throughout the area will gather in their respective gymnasiums with fellow classmates, teachers and family members for one final sendoff before they start the next chapter of their lives.
Graduation Day is always a bittersweet event. It's a celebration marking an end to the many years of hard work our local students have put into their educations, but it's also sad to see them go. They've made many lasting memories for our communities and their dedication to their schools should not go unnoticed. These young adults represented their school districts with pride, and their accomplishments are many. Whether they participated in sports, band, the arts or another activity, they all attributed something special to the community and helped make our area stand out.
Some will continue their studies at two-year or four-year schools, and others will enter the workforce immediately. No matter what they do, they can be confident in the skills and knowledge they learned while attending Hampton-Dumont, CAL, West Fork or AGWSR. Our local schools take pride in their efforts to mold these young minds with a solid education and teachers committed to their students' success. Our school districts aren't big, but what they lack in size they make up for by offering a superb education layered with small town common sense. The rural high school learning experience is one that’s just simply hard to beat.
Some members of the Class of 2014 will move on to bigger and brighter things after high school and college – that's a given. However, it's important they realize the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Most of them have spent 18 years of their life living in north Iowa, and it shouldn't come as a surprise that some want to spread their wings and explore other things. That's an essential part of life, and it will probably make them realize how good they have it here. Retaining some of these young minds to continue community growth and improvement is key for our future viability. We won't keep all of them, but bringing some of these students back will only help our local communities become stronger in the years to come.
So here's to you, Class of 2014! We've enjoyed watching you grow up, and we know you'll be successful in whatever you choose to do. As they say, the world is your oyster. There are many opportunities before you and we encourage you to explore each one. Leave no door unopened and no stone unturned. Enjoy your final summer here with your friends and soak in the memories – this is a very special time in your life. Thank you for representing our communities with such distinction and prestige over the years. Whatever you choose to do, just try your best, remember who helped you along the way and never forget where you came from.
Congratulations, and best of luck.