I had the honor and the privilege to attend the Milwaukee Area Technical College’s (MATC) GED graduation ceremony last week. Fourteen hundred high school equilivancies were conferred. A few observations and comments:
- Fourteen hundred! That’s both good news and bad news. The bad news is that so very many folks didn’t graduate from high school in the traditional way and 1400 is just a fraction of those who are in the same boat. In fact, every four seconds of the school day, someone drops out of high school! The good news is 1400 people saw the value of education and found the discipline and courage to do something about it.
- The age range of those at the ceremony were from early twenties to very late middle age. As I sat on the platform watching the graduates walk across the stage, I couldn’t help but wonder about each individual’s motivation. I was particularly curious about the older grads — was this something they’d always regretted and finally decided to do something about it?
- I also attend MATC’s regular graduation ceremonies twice a year. The graduates are always filled with pride and excitement about their accomplishment. But the grads last week were particularly proud and they weren’t ashamed to show it. There was dancing, prancing, raised arms and huge smiles as each was handed his or her diploma.
It was an inspirational evening. I am proud to be associated with MATC and most particularly proud that these 1400 grads now have a fighting chance — to get a family-sustaining job and/or to go ahead into a post-secondary field.