DR. MARK PORTERIE — Graduation’s significance remains as important as ever

Published 12:08 am Saturday, May 4, 2024

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May is a month filled with excitement and celebration as students across the country prepare to graduate from high school.

This year, Memorial High School, along with Woodrow Wilson Early College High School, will celebrate their commencement exercises on Friday/May 24 at 7 p.m. at a new and larger location – Ford Park Arena in Beaumont.

This milestone achievement marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, as our students embark on their journey into adulthood. With the month of May comes the importance of earning a high school diploma, as well as considering plans for the future.

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Earning a high school diploma is a crucial step in a student’s academic journey. It opens doors to a wide range of opportunities, including higher education, better job prospects, and increased earning potential.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals with a high school diploma earn significantly more than those without one. In fact, the average earnings of high school graduates are nearly double that of individuals who have not completed high school.

In 2024, the consequences of not earning a high school diploma are more significant than ever before. With the job market becoming increasingly competitive and employers valuing education more highly, individuals without a diploma may find themselves at a disadvantage.

Without a diploma, students may struggle to secure stable employment, earn a livable wage, or pursue further education. In today’s fast paced and technology-driven world, a high school diploma is essential for success.

Some students are taking their education a step further by earning an associate’s degree or professional certificate while still in high school. Students from our Woodrow Wilson Early College High School and Career and Technical Education Center will graduate from Lamar State College on Friday/May 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the Carl Parker Center.

Through dual enrollment programs, or early college campus initiatives, students have the opportunity to earn college credits and work towards an associate’s degree before they graduate high school. This not only saves time and money in the long run, but also provides students with a head start in their post-secondary education.

The benefits of earning an associate’s degree while still in high school are numerous. It can increase a student’s chances of being accepted into a four-year college or university, as well as provide them with a solid foundation for their future career.

Additionally, students who earn an associate’s degree are more likely to have higher earning potential and job security. By earning a degree early on, students can explore their interests, gain valuable skills, and make informed decisions about their future.

As the class of 2024 approaches graduation, it is important for them to have a plan for what comes next. Whether they are considering college, a career, or the military, having a clear path forward is essential.

By thinking about their goals and aspirations before they graduate, students can make informed decisions and set themselves up for success.

Having a plan for life after high school graduation is crucial for a number of reasons. It provides students with a sense of direction and purpose, as well as helps them stay motivated and focused on their goals. It also allows them to take advantage of available resources and opportunities, such as scholarships, internships, and career training programs.

By having a plan in place, students can make informed decisions about their future and take steps toward achieving their dreams.

Activities that the month of May brings, such as graduation ceremonies and celebrations, serve as a reminder of the importance of earning a high school diploma. As students prepare to enter the next phase of their lives, it is crucial for them to consider their plans for the future.

Whether they are earning an associate’s degree, pursuing higher education, or entering the workforce, having a clear path forward is essential for success. By earning a diploma, thinking about their future, and making informed decisions, students can set themselves up for a bright and promising future.

Dr. Mark Porterie is superintendent of schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District. He can be reached at mporterie@paisd.org.