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Last days of school

May 31, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Graduates aren't the only ones with a worthy accomplishment

More attention is paid to high school and community college graduates this time of year, but let us not overlook the yearlong accomplishments of our other school students from grades K-11.

They don't have their own commencement exercises (well, some do), but they also have achieved a significant milestone in completing the more challenging year of school that confronted them last fall.

It doesn't happen automatically. Progressing from first grade to second, from sixth grade to seventh, or from sophomore to junior requires effort, commitment and continuous improvement on the part of the students, along with steadfast guidance and concentration from their school teachers and support staff at the elementary, middle and high schools.

This progress is simply taken for granted by most of us, so engrained is it in our consciousness. In truth, it is a lot to ask of our kids, and of our society. The challenges are great, both inside the school, where mounting regulations from well-meaning meddlers probably muck things up more than they ought to, and outside, where today's 11-year-old kid encounters stimuli, conflict and uncertainty to a greater degree, and at an earlier age, than his parents probably did.

That so many of them get through to the next grade is strong testament to a system that is routinely criticized, excruciatingly scrutinized, and tugged and stretched by political forces -- yet still works pretty darned well.

Or, viewed from another angle, considering what we are asking of them, it's remarkable that so few kids fail.

Sometimes it can seem as if school is mostly about board meetings, facilities commissions, annual reports, legislative squabbling, retirement parties and football games.

Wrong. What school really is mostly about is students and teachers, with support from administrators and families, working together in a classroom, day after day, toward a common goal.

This month marks the completion of the school year for most students in Fremont County. For many, the end of school arrived this very day. You have made admirable progress. Enjoy the summer off, and be ready to do it again when the weather begins to cool.

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