Congratulations to the graduating classes at Lincolnton, East Lincoln and West Lincoln high schools. Commencement exercises for all three of the schools are scheduled for this weekend. The title â€œClass of 2004â€ may not mean much today to these young men and women, but it will have a nostalgic ring in the years ahead. High school and college years are some of our most memorable.
These students have been provided a good education and should be prepared for the next step toward a career and a successful life. That step should be college for those who expect to find a good job in todayâ€™s competitive job market. High school just isnâ€™t enough in this day and time. A career is a long-term investment that requires more preparation than ever before.
College doesnâ€™t have to mean Duke or UNC-Chapel Hill. You can earn college credits here at the Lincolnton Campus of Gaston College, which offers more than 90 certificate degree programs that will help prepare you for a career. Many of the credits earned here will transfer to other colleges if a student is looking for specialized instruction. Costs should not be a problem. Tuition at Gaston college is a little more than $400 a semester, excluding books and fees. If help is needed scholarships and college loans are available, including the Rotary Clubâ€™s student loan program which permits a student to repay interest only while in college, and provides several years after college to repay the principal.
Every high school graduate should formulate his or her own road map for the future. Life shouldnâ€™t be an unplanned series of happenings. If you donâ€™t have a map, you donâ€™t know where you are going. Often it is friends and family that can best help a person make these important decisions. Keep in mind that todayâ€™s workplace will change rapidly and people change jobs frequently because of the new services and technological changes of our time. The preparation received today may become obsolete in another three to five years. Adapting to this changing environment will be a challenge.
Itâ€™s a complicated but exciting time. We hope our new graduates clear the hurdles of the 21st Century and look back fondly to 2004.by Albert Dozier