The Lincoln County News congratulates the class of 2019 at all our local high schools.
This year, we want to give special recognition to the students in local adult education programs. You can read about some of them in front-page articles by Evan Houk and Alexander Violo.
Why do we want to highlight these students, the ones who did not complete high school in the traditional manner?
For these graduates, a diploma was not a given. It may have seemed out of reach.
Many of them have overcome significant obstacles to earn their new credentials, which will open doors for them and for their families.
Many of these graduates got knocked down by life, for one reason or another, but rather than accept this as their fate, they got back up and took the initiative to improve themselves and their prospects.
Their graduation, in addition to their own personal strength of character, illustrates the importance of adult education programs in our communities.
We often observe the directors of adult education programs as they come to local budget meetings to plead for their modest allowances.
Some tight-fisted budget committee member inevitably quibbles over the measly sum and says something like “Adult education? Isn’t that just basket-weaving and ballroom dancing?”
The truth is, the minuscule portion of our property taxes that supports adult education goes to prepare students like this week’s graduates for their equivalency exams and, often, college. And they do so for a fraction of what it costs to send a student to high school.
As the directors patiently explain time and time again, enrichment classes like beekeeping and pastry-baking pay for themselves with fees.
There is a saying about personal responsibility that goes something like this: To pull yourself up by your bootstraps, first you need boots.
We should all support adult education, adult educators, and the students who use these “bootstraps” to better themselves and, by extension, their communities.
Adult education is a second chance.
Adult education changes lives.