Editorial: New graduates need to live their own way

When you really think about it, it’s strange that a distinguished educator told a group of teenagers last week that they control her future.

During her 13 years as the superintendent and more as a counselor and principal for Cimarron Municipal Schools, Thelma Coker made many of the decisions that helped shape our community. Students, teachers and community members undoubtedly trusted her guidance because of the credibility she earned over several decades.

And now she says her fate lies with a group of people born in 1995.

“You seniors are part of a mighty company of graduates that will be going to college or going to work, who will be making choices about what your world and ours will be like in the future,” Coker said during the Cimarron High School graduation ceremony Saturday (May 25).

And whether we like it or not, she is right.

Some people may still picture members of the Class of 2013 in diapers, but it’s time for all of us to accept that they are becoming adults. Although their first steps, tee-ball games and high-school heartbreaks may remain in recent memory, these new graduates will soon replace the educators, politicians, soldiers, health-care workers and business professionals who affect us all.

We encourage the parents and guardians of recent graduates to gently help them complete their transition into adulthood. These young people are still maturing and can benefit from the advice of loved ones who have been through the same experiences.

But we urge the graduates to live their own way. They should use the critical-thinking skills they gained in high school to evaluate the advice of their elders, but they also need to understand that the world is a much different place than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

Progress in our society would come to a standstill if members of every generation were to live exactly like their parents. And it would be a shame to squelch the interests and skills unique to today’s young adults simply because some people don’t believe they are worth pursuing.

Because of the lagging economy and difficult job market, this year’s high school graduates have a tough road ahead. But we are certain that they can overcome nearly any obstacle through hard work and perseverance.

We do not only hope that these young people succeed. We depend on it.

<em>Editor’s Note — This editorial is the opinion of the Sangre de Cristo Chronicle.</em>