Hundreds of Frederick County’s bright young people trooped up to Mount St. Mary’s University this week to celebrate one of the milestones of life — graduation from high school.
We want to offer our congratulations to these young people, their families and their friends. They represent the future of Frederick County, and from where we stand the future looks bright.
Graduating from high school is no longer the unusual accomplishment it once was. Well into the middle of the last century, large numbers of young people left school after the eighth grade to go to work. That is no longer the case, of course.
Today, more than 90 percent of Frederick County seniors graduate with their class from high school. However, this occasion still marks the major transition from childhood to adulthood.
The News-Post sends reporters and photographers to each of the 10 high school graduations each year because we know what a significant day this is in the life of our community and in the lives of the families of the graduates. We place the stories on the front page of the newspaper all week because we want to share in the joy of this celebration of youth, family and the value of education.
Hundreds of teenagers walked into the Mount’s convocation center and hundreds of young adults walked out a few hours later.
They heard speakers try to challenge them, amuse them, make them reflect on what has gone by and what new worlds await them.
As soon as the ceremony concludes, the grads and their families spill out onto the lawns and walkways around the Mount campus. You will rarely see bigger smiles on such a large group of people. If you look at the pictures that we ran in The News-Post this week, you will see a lot of people beaming. It is heartwarming and life-affirming.
The graduation speech is one of the great writing challenges of a lifetime, trying to connect with young people who are eager to pick up their diploma and with family and friends perched on uncomfortable bleachers. Everyone wants a great picture far more than a great message. We won’t even try to compete here.
Instead, let’s talk a bit about the quality of the students leaving our school system this week.
Most of our graduates will be going on to the next level of education, generally either a four-year college or a community college, usually Frederick Community College. If history is any guide, they have earned millions and millions of dollars in scholarship money. Students in the Class of 2018 got $45.8 million in scholarship offers.
Some choose to directly enter the world of work, and some volunteer to serve their country by entering one of the military branches.
All in all, these young people are getting a solid education in Frederick County Public Schools, and Frederick taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment in secondary education.
So, young grads, you go forth — to college, to work or to the military — and we wish all of you every success. May you always look back on this day as one of hope and promise, and may your hopes and your promise be realized.