The Curry Coastal Pilot

The Class of 2011 is the center of attention today, as 107 seniors receive their diplomas from Brookings-Harbor High School. "Con-GRAD-ulations" to all the successful students, and let us extend a special note of thanks to all the BHHS staff, and all the supportive family members who got them this far on this path to their futures.

The next steps for these young people are all on different paths, but we think the actual figures will be surprising to many who haven't been keeping up the trends.

Listen for the official numbers at today's graduation ceremony, but we already can tell you that a vast majority of students in the Class of 2011 are headed for some form of post-secondary education: four-year college, community college, trade school or military training. Almost all the rest have jobs or immediate plans to enter the workforce.

Those at graduation will also be impressed by the total value of scholarships and aid offered to those students who are headed on to college. From our local scholarships to military support for recruits, from aid offered by the colleges themselves to an extraordinary Gates Millenium scholarship, the total pledges to this crop of students reach well into seven figures.

It's too soon to predict whether these students will reach their next certificate or degree, but we do know that the community andndash; and society as a whole andndash; is investing in their future with aid and scholarships. We hope they remember that support, and are encouraged by it to reach for their success, and then help the next generation of students.

In short, today's high school graduates rarely are through being students. They are simply moving on to the next steps of learning to prepare for a complicated and complex future. What we can do today is celebrate their accomplishment, and wish them well in achieving their dreams.