Graduation - a success to build on

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Students and their families

Talking about their school day: About 180 days are spent at school each year. Times that by 13 years and that’s 2,340 days spent behind a school desk. That provides a lot of topics at the breakfast and dinner table for students and their families.

High school homework help: A survey of 1,000 K-12 teachers found that high school teachers on average assign up to 17.5 hours each week. For the four years in high school, that equates to about 2,870 hours of homework. Family members often help the student or at least offer suggestions to the very busy student.

Car rides: For students who live too far to walk to school, that equates to 4,680 car rides a year from mom, dad, grandparents or big brother or sister. Times that by 13 years and that’s 60,840 rides of quick conversations and laughs before and after school.

Parents’ nights, meet the teachers, progress reports, holiday assemblies and sports awards: At least 10 a year, depending on a student’s activities. Times that by 13 years and it’s at least 130 gatherings with parents at school.

Last Saturday was the highlight of the year for the 133 Colfax High School seniors as they proudly received their diplomas.

Saturday’s 9 a.m. commencement ceremony at the high school’s Marson Field officially marked the end of the seniors’ childhoods and their immediate entry into adulthoods.

During the last nine months, seniors are treated like VIPS as activities and events focus on their immediate future.

Seniors have extra activities weekly relating to graduation, including making sure all requirements are met, school club parties honoring the seniors’ achievements, college application counseling and taking care of commencement ceremony details.

It’s an exciting time for them.

As the days quickly lead up to graduation, seniors get a lot of attention.

That’s as it should be.

Beginning in kindergarten, students hear teachers talk about the path that they will be on for the next 13 years.

The goal of graduating becomes students’ No. 1 mission as they complete hundreds of papers, do homework even on weekends, take tests and join clubs that will look good on their high school resume.

Along with realizing that they will soon be able to do whatever they want to and that anything is possible, seniors understand that they’re no longer considered children. They feel more responsible.

Receiving their diplomas is one of the most defining events in their lives.

It’s also a bittersweet time. As students take their senior photos and rehearse for graduation, they realize they’ll soon never again assemble with all their classmates.

And while looking ahead to college or a new job, many students have attended classes since grade school with the same classmates and have developed friendships that will last a lifetime. It can be overwhelming for even the most confident classmates to leave this status quo.

We should be very proud of what the graduating seniors have achieved so far. Not only have they taken academics seriously but they’ve learned how to amicably get along with different types of personalities. Our future scientists, doctors, teachers, service workers, computer programmers, government officials and business representatives will all do well.

We should equally be proud of the parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members. The graduates’ success is due in great part to their families.

That students are now looking forward to starting the rest of their lives and taking responsibility for themselves is a testament to their family support system.

"The evidence is clear: Family involvement helps children get ready to enter school, promotes their school success, and prepares youth for college,” according to Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Harvard Family Research Project. “Family involvement supports all children, especially those less likely to succeed in school,” according to the project (

Congratulations to all the graduates and their families. We wish you continued success as you further your studies and become tomorrow’s workforce and family leaders.

Carol Feineman can be reached at (916) 774-7972 or