Our future

My Thorughts

atwoods@sti.netAugust 13, 2013 

This coming week many of our local children will be returning to the classrooms as school opens the 2013-2014 educational year. The high school seniors have 180 days of public education between them and the diploma while kindergartners have 2,340 days of instruction before they walk across the stage to receive their high school diploma. It seems odd to think that the Class of 2014 and the Class 2027 will only share this one school year together.

Between the time the kinders enter their classroom for the first time until they graduate in June of 2027 many changes will occur. Most of the teachers in the local school will have retired. The demographics of our area will change and jobs that aren't even thought of will be awaiting our future graduates. These kinders will then leave high school and head off to seek jobs, enter the military, enroll in colleges and universities and in that way they will cease to be children and will become adults. In June of 2027, I will turn 75 years of age which will be near the average life span of somebody born in 1952.

The students entering the school system next week are in all likelihood going to live to 100 years of age. It is difficult to imagine what they are going to experience. When I mention 8-track, 45 records, curb feelers, or Polaroid cameras the kids of today just stare. This past week a lovely lady in our church congregation, Nell Barker, turned 105 years old. Her wits are still there and at her party on Sunday she was asked what the greatest invention or advance had taken place in her lifetime. Her answer — running hot water from a faucet.

The advancement of technology sometimes is as seemingly simple as hot water. I only hope that the children in the school rooms here in our area, around the state and across the country will avail themselves of the educational opportunities so that they are prepared for a world that will be vastly different in just a quarter century.

So what is our part in this educational experience? First we need to remember that many children are going to be on the streets walking, riding bikes, driving cars and riding school buses next week so we need to be on the alert for them.

Next, there are struggling families who are facing day to day living expenses and the additional dollars needed to buy clothes and school supplies adds a burden on those already teeming budgets. When I went to school you needed a notebook, dividers, pencils, pens, and paper and a dollar to buy book covers. Now kids need those items along with laptops, Kindles, calculators, as well as backpacks, and fees for classes such as shop or band.

We can help. If you know a family that needs a hand contact the parents and ask if you may have the privilege of treating the young students to some of those goodies. Buy the backpacks, or school shoes. Send some cash to a local school and tell them it is for the backpack fund. Trust me that every school administrator knows kids who need the helping hand. The money won't sit in an account but will be helping a kid and in that way you are helping that child prepare for life through much of this century.

Volunteer at the schools. There are requirements now set by the state and federal governments that are in place to protect the children so don't get upset when you need to be fingerprinted. Class room aides are needed, librarians need help shelving books, secretaries need help putting together mailings and newsletters, coaches need assistance and the school can always put your financial contributions to work.

We have great schools in this area. The test scores show what happens when great children from a great community and great families meet up with the great teachers in the classrooms.

I know that many slam the public schools systems nationally but here, right here, in our backyard are great schools. We can sit back and knock the system or we can do the right thing and support the teachers and the students. We need to remember that the high school graduating class of 2027 is starting to learn how to read and write this year. It won't be very long until we are standing at the school handing our scholarship money to may of them in 2027.

Let's change the future — one child at a time.

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