It is almost here! Graduates will be reaching one of the greatest milestones in their lives.
This weekend (including Friday night) will mark the start of a new beginning for many area high school seniors. They will put on their caps and gowns and take their first steps toward adulthood while embarking on the next phase of their lives.
For some, it will mean joining the workforce, or flying overseas to experience new adventures, or joining the military. However, for the majority, it will be on to college.
First off, congratulations to all of you who have made it this far. It is not a milestone that should be overshadowed. The New York State Education Department recently released the graduation rates for the class of 2012. Overall statewide graduation rates remained stable at 74 percent despite increased rigor required for graduation phased-in over the past four years.
Graduation rates in the Big Five districts have decreased with Buffalo having the largest decrease of seven percentage points. In a statement released by the state education department, New York State Education Commissioner John King and New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch expressed concern about the low percentage of students graduating college and career ready — particularly students of color, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities.
The statement continues: “The performance gap between high need and low need districts continues to be nearly 30 percent, with nearly 94 percent of students from low need districts graduating as opposed to only 65 percent of students from high need urban-suburban districts earning a high school diploma.”
So you have done it. But don’t be fooled, it is not all smooth sailing from here on out. In these challenging economic times, it’s more important than ever for students to put their educations to good use. Finding a job can be as hard as finding a needle in a haystack, so it can seem.