Community pride – go ahead, join in

 by Jon Bales, DASD Superintendent (published by the DeForest Times-Tribune, 6/7/12)

With the state of the national economy and the rancor within state politics, it’s easy for citizens to be disillusioned by the day-to-day world. We are preoccupied by concerns and frustrations – looking for examples to justify our dismay. Lo and behold, if we look hard enough, we find examples.

Yet, in the chosen words of our DeForest Area High School seniors, we are reminded, “Life goes by very fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you might miss it.” Indeed, life goes by fast. And in the blur, I didn’t want the community-at-large to miss the opportunity to notice something special that has happened – something worth celebrating.

Last Saturday night, in front of more than 2,000 family, friends, and faculty, 246 young men and women graduated from DeForest Area High School. This is something worth celebrating by all citizens of this community. Something everyone should take some pride in – for creating the type of quality-of-life that would help support young graduates such as these.

Did you know the 2012 graduates are heading off to diverse futures of college, work, family life and the service? Did you know they will be in universities throughout this country – from Oklahoma State to Drake – from Washington to Nicolet Bible Institute – from UW-Madison to UW-La Crosse?

Did you know they will pursue careers from filmmaking to medicine? From engineering to education?

Did you know the graduating class also included a young man committing his life to military service?

Did you know some already have productive jobs and will begin immediately contributing to the economy?

Did you know several of the college-bound already have college credits they earned while in high school?

Did you know some were on the verge of dropping out of the traditional high school (no, it’s not perfect for everyone) only nine months ago and were re-energized by one of the school district’s alternative, customized programs?

These are the young people the community, their families and the schools has produced. I think we all have a right to take a little pride in the environment they were provided in their community. And we have a right to take pride in the young people our community is sending into the world.

There is no question, in the years to come, they will make the world – our world – a better place. That is something for all of us to pause long enough to look at and celebrate.

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