It’s that time of year again. We will see another class of bright eyed young people who are anxious to get the heck out of school and move on to the next part of their lives. 

It happens every year, kids grow up and want desperately to graduate. It isn’t until a few days later they realize the greener grass is over the septic tank. What most graduates don’t realize is that they just finished the best year of their lives as they were BMOC with very few worries. 

When reality sets in, they must rely on all the advice they received to make better choices: The advice their teachers tried to offer; the advice their parents tried to offer; and the advice friends and family tried to offer. Thatís all keeping in mind that social media played a large part in their upbringing, they have to decide what is real and what is fake. 

The real world can be challenging. For college grads, its the repayment of student loans, which will bury them in debt for many years. It’s the reality of getting gainful employment, paying rent, insurance, gas, and all the necessities in life. And then the politics of a job will kick in. All the education in the world may have prepared them to perform the duties of their trade, but there is no class on politics in the workplace, offering a very hard lesson about the unfairness of life. 

As for high school grads, you will embark on several opportunities. College, trade school, work or the military may be one of the paths you have chosen. You will be leaving behind your family and friends. You will leave behind the drama and the safety that you have enjoyed for the last 18 or 19 years. You will be forced to make very difficult decisions and you will be faced with people who may not have your best interests in mind. The world is full of creeps who are predators. 

As you embark on to the next part of your life, understand that there are many people “back home” who are watching and are counting on you to be successful. There are teachers, parents, friends, preachers and others who are rooting for you in ways you canít imagine now. But in due time, you will recognize them. 

This is one of the best times in your lives. You have achieved a great accomplishment. And for the most part, you had good guidance. Enjoy this time and prepare to be the best that you can be. 

You will soon find that even though you were not the valedictorian, the star athlete, the prettiest, the skinniest or the prom king, you can still make a huge difference in the world. Some people don’t realize their potential until later in life; I’m still waiting for mine. 

The Class of 2018 is indeed special. They have many challenges ahead of them, not only locally but globally. One thing is for certain, this class can change the future. 

Venture out into your next chapter in life knowing that you had preparation. Become a doctor, lawyer, accountant, electrician, truck driver, scientist or whatever you want. Just venture forward with a passion for knowledge and the ability to be caring and humble. There are a lot of people counting on you for the future of this community, country and world. 

Enjoy your day and congratulations on this milestone. We can’t wait to see what else you achieve. 

Thanks for reading The Paintsville Herald.

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