By BOB BILLETER
Students' Hard Work Pays Off
This is one of the periods of the year that I enjoy the most because high school and college seniors are graduating, preparing to leave their parents' homes and go out into the world to find their niche. That niche is a pretty exciting thing when you're 17 and have been under the control of a father and mother all your life.
If you have applied yourself in school and are headed for college or trade school, it's an extremely exciting time. Your hard work is about to pay off. I saw in the Clarksburg paper today a story about a Lincoln High School senior who is headed to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT, and one of the nation's most prestigious universities. The student, Thomas Varner, intends to study chemical engineering.
What an exciting life this young man probably has ahead of him. There is nothing as satisfying as going to work every day in a job that you love. I have known a few people in my life who loved their work so much that they would have done it if they had not been paid. Can you imagine how much more satisfying life is when you love your occupation that much?
Years ago I worked for an editor who felt like that and he was one of the best newspaper people I have ever known or known of. Usually, when you love what you are doing you are great at it.
Everyone can't be as lucky as this editor, of course, and find paradise at work but many more of us would lead much happier lives if we applied ourselves in school, got a better education and went out into the world and became a more significant part of it.
One of the great tragedies is that many, many people learn the importance of education too late. After they have left school and gone out into the world they realize how important school, which they hate, is. But they are married, have a child or children and they can't ignore their obligations and go back to school. And even if they could they are handicapped by not having the educational foundation that is acquired in grade school and high school.
I can't count the number of people I have known who had tremendous potential but didn't get the educational foundation in their grade school and high school years and therefore didn't go on to school and ended up in a job that offered no future and that they hated.
Many, many parents don't have the ability to teach their children the value of education. Fortunately for some young people, they are lucky enough to get a teacher whom they respect and admire and that person inspires them and influences them to apply themselves more and to respect education. This teacher changes the student's life dramatically. A good teacher's value to pupils, students and society is incalculable.
And one of the great failings of our society is that we don't honor good teachers enough. In our country the people who make a lot of money seem to get the most adulation. How absurd this is. In many of the other countries of the world good teachers are at the top of the list of respected professions. This is the way it should be.
It has always amazed me to see how many young people feel that learning is dull stuff. The truth is that knowledge is the most exciting thing in life. How can one appreciate and enjoy life if he doesn't have the ability to think about life in intelligent terms?
I am envious of the young people who have applied themselves and who are going out into the world this month and looking toward a bright future. They constantly inspire me and make me wish that I could go along with them and perhaps not make the mistakes that I made when I was their age. But that isn't the way the system works, is it? If only more of our young people could realize that one is only young once and that period of their life is so very, very valuable.