EDITORIAL: 2009 graduation season

The graduation season for Tippah County schools is now under way. It began last Saturday, May 9, with commencement at Blue Mountain College. U. S. Sen. Thad Cochran delivered the graduation address during BMC’s 136th annual commencement exercises. The students who received their degrees Saturday were the first of many to march into the future, degree in hand, in Tippah. They won’t be the last. Later this month, high schools in the county will hold graduation exercises. The students in the class of 2009 will undergo major changes in their lives over the next 30 days. The journey into adulthood customarily begins with high school graduation. Some students plan to go on to college, some students will join the work force – if they can find jobs in these troubled economic times — while others are not sure what course their lives will take. We hope students will choose a drug-free, alcohol-free path to pursue their ambitions. It can be too easy for students to get caught up in the pressures placed on them by friends. Too many times those pressures lead to risks and problems. At 17 or 18, most students believe nothing can hurt them and they’ll live forever. They feel invincible. That’s a good feeling to have if it’s focused in a positive manner. Falkner native Major Gen. (Ret.) Harold Cross, who was the Adjutant General of the Mississippi National Guard, once offered some excellent guidelines for anyone of any age to lead their lives by. Speaking at a Ripley High School Honors Program held several years ago, Gen. Cross challenged his listeners to be aware of the American Spirit that has been bequeathed on them. “Remember it in the pursuit of excellence. Cast honor on yourselves, as well as your parents, teachers, coaches, Sunday School teachers, Scout leaders and all the mentors who inspired you to be the best you can be.” He urged the students to always remember that they live in the greatest nation on earth. “We live in a very affluent society. You won the lottery of life by being born in America. Although the world is in turmoil, don’t get discouraged or overcome by fear of failure. Always do your best. Empower others with that spirit and pass that legacy on to future generations.” That’s a timeless philosophy for the Class of 2009, and all the rest of us as well.

Southern Sentinel