Congratulations To The Class Of 2019 And Those Who Helped Them Along The Way

Hundreds of Chautauqua County’s bright young residents made a walk this week they probably couldn’t imagine they would take 13 years ago when they started their educational journey.

We’re talking, of course, about the 2019 crop of high school graduates who walked across a stage to receive their high school diplomas. Our pages have been filled over the past week or so with stories and photos of smiling graduates celebrating the end of their school days and the beginning of the next chapter in their lives. Graduating from high school is not as rare an accomplishment as it used to be, but it will always be a life-changing event for families that signifies the end of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood.

These graduations are important for our county’s future as well. Our county’s future isn’t being built with Downtown Revitalization Funds, Industrial Development Agency PILOT agreements or resolutions passed by the Chautauqua County Legislature or the Jamestown City Council. Our future will be built by the families who read to their children every night and who drove themselves crazy trying to figure out school work that has changed countless times since Mom and Dad were in school. Our collective future will be determined by the teachers and school staff who pour their knowledge into our students while Mom and Dad are at work every day. Our future depends on the students who navigated the pressures of increasingly difficult educational standards and the day-to-day demands of being a teen-ager in 2019 to enter the world ready to chase their dreams and contribute to our future.

Thirteen years ago the Class of 2019 started kindergarten. Many of them probably didn’t want to go to kindergarten, or pre-kindergarten, those many years ago; some, we’re sure, cried when they were dropped off at school and wanted nothing more than to go back home. A network of family, friends, teachers and school staff have helped turn those frightened children into confident adults ready for college, the workforce or to serve their country in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Congratulations not only to these students, but to their families and their friends and the army of teachers and school staff who helped them reach graduation day.