An open letter to all county school boards

At the Coffee Shop


Dear Board Members,

While scrolling through Facebook this week, I came upon this small article about Henrico County Virginia Public Schools. As I read it, I thought this was an absolutely great idea. So Friday morning at the Coffee shop, I mentioned it to the gang.  They all thought this was a really good idea too. I copied the article for all of you to read:

Usually, high schools celebrate athletes signing letters of intent and tout seniors waving acceptance letters for colleges. But Henrico County Public Schools in Virginia decided to celebrate students going in a different direction, who weren’t headed to college. Public school administrators held a ceremony honoring students who were getting jobs or apprenticeships right after graduation. The students met with representatives from their future places of employment and signed letters outlining what they and the employers would expect from each other. ALL jobs are IMPORTANT! Not everyone can or should go to college! All jobs make the world go round, so kudos to this school for reminding us of that!

The sheer simplicity and genius of this simple ceremony makes me wonder why no one has thought of this before!? The truth in the article is not every student is college material.  Gone are the days when counselors in schools would shove a pamphlet in your face and say “College is the way to go.”  I wonder how many kids over the years have wasted time and money on college they never really wanted, nor cared about?

This program described above now brings the non-college student on an even par, graduation and recognition wise, with those who choose college. I know from experience the pride one gets from working with your hands and doing things that do not require a college education, but are just as important to society as engineers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and others.

Somebody has to actually BUILD and REPAIR things for those professions to succeed, and honoring those that do the dirty work should be recognized.  Think of this world without mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, service workers, and hundreds of other jobs that are necessary for our way of life.

They deserve our respect, and at least our acknowledgement for jobs that are vital to us all.  I had the opportunity to mention this to the Economic Development office and Todd Schilling, the Career Connections Coordinator, is really on board with this.  He promised to mention it to the Superintendents.

Therefore, I think it would be a great idea for all of our public schools in Darke County to honor those students who are choosing to go to work, or apprentice with a company, this year.  I think a separate ceremony or some kind of recognition for these students would be appreciated by them, their parents, and their future employers.  LET’S DO THIS!

Respectfully submitted,

Mike Stegall, former truck driver and Commissioner