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Area graduates have a tremendous opportunity

In less than a week 564 seniors at Chilton County area high schools will graduate. They deserve our congratulations for staying the course and earning a diploma.

Unofficially Maplesville has 34 graduates, Isabella, 43; Thorsby, 49; Jemison, 102; Chilton Christian Academy, nine; Chilton County High School, 185; Verbena, 19, Marbury, 63 and Billingsley, 60.

The graduate candidates certainly have reached a milestone in their lives. Many will move on to continue their education at colleges and universities and others will join the workforce.

More so than in past years, next week’s graduates will go out into a world that is less stable than the world their parents inherited. The current downturn of the economy has reduced the national output of goods and services and unemployment continues to rise.

I hope the graduates will not let current conditions dim their hopes of a bright and rewarding future. They have proved their ability to study and work hard to achieve goals. They have the opportunity to become part of the solution instead of joining those who would rather sit and complain. I trust the willpower, the enthusiasm and the dedication most grad-candidates had during their quest to earn a high school education will continue as they more ahead in life. Such traits will pay dividends not only to the graduates but to our country as well.

While there are many people who would rather tell graduates that they face an uncertain future filled with doubts and concerns, I hope you agree with me and encourage our graduates about the opportunity that still abounds in this country to be successful. If they will use the education they have (and will earn) and couple it with a good work ethic, they can achieve their goals in live and help make Chilton County and America be better place for all of us.

Next Thursday The Clanton Advertiser will publish its annual tribute to the graduating class of 2009. The edition will be filled with pictures of all graduates as well as congratulation advertisements from individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the area.

While the special edition is designed to congratulate the graduates, I believe it will also be a tribute to the many teachers who played roles in educating the graduates as well as to the parents of the graduates who worked equally as hard to bring their children to this proud moment in their lives.

– Mike Kelley is publisher of The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Weekend.