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Class of '09 faces challenges
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Forsyth County News
It is again the season for a most significant rite of passage for many area teens and their families — high school graduation.

Graduation is a bridge to college or technical school. For others, the next phase of life will be full-time employment.

But those marching to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” this year will face some harsh realities given the nation’s current economic conditions.

Going to college is going to cost more, being accepted to college is going to be tougher and budget cutbacks mean academies of higher learning may not be as well equipped to meet educational needs as was once the case. Parents may not have the funds to provide for a college education that was taken for granted just a few years ago.

Jobs, for those not looking to advance their formal education, are going to be harder to find than in recent years. Adults displaced from careers of their own are competing with youngsters new to the workplace for positions that are available.  For those fortunate enough to find employment, workloads are likely to be heavy and compensation light compared to just a couple of years ago.

Most of those donning cap and gown will have the opportunity to listen to a commencement speaker. These are some of the words we wish they would hear:

These are tough times for our nation’s economy, but we are tough people. Over the course of the nation’s history we have survived wars, depressions, recessions, famines, drought and disease. As young people entering our colleges and workforce, you have an opportunity to be part of the next great wave of success for the United States.

A basic tenet of our nation’s success has been that individuality and private accomplishment provide the motivation for people to succeed. Do not be seduced into believing that personal achievement is bad or that those who accumulate wealth should be punished for doing so. Be proud of your goals, ambition and your personal accomplishments.

Remember too that our Republic was founded on principles of personal liberty and freedom. Do not allow those cherished elements of American life to be sacrificed by those who would forsake freedom for the security of increased government intervention into our lives.

Do not allow yourself to drown in news of economic doom and gloom. Remember that while the nation’s unemployment rate may be nearing 10 percent, that means that 90 percent of the potential workforce is still em-ployed. For every home in foreclosure, there are hundreds that are not. The American dream is still alive and well for the vast majority, and our standard of living is one of which the world is jealous.

The beauty of this “grand experiment” called the United States is that while it may periodically undergo government, social or financial upheaval that results in dramatic change, the bedrock ideals that have made it unique in the history of the world remain the same.  

To the class of 2009, we say: You have an incredible opportunity to succeed in the greatest country in the world, and by so doing make it better still. Make the most of it.