Published 4:57 am Monday, June 16, 2008

By Staff
As area high-school graduates with the Class of 2008 enter the next phases of their lives, they will hear speeches with phrases like “future leaders” and “hope for a better world.”
For years, graduates at the high-school level and college level have heard those phrases and similar phrases. There is a lot of truth in such phrases. And those phrases carry a lot of expectations. Graduates enter the next phases of their lives with a lot of expectations of themselves and the world. In the vast majority of cases, those expectations are never fully met. That’s life.
Somewhere among the members of the Class of 2008 there could be the research scientist who finds a cure for cancer. Somewhere among those members of the Class of 2008 there could be the doctor who finds a way for paralyzed people to regain some or all use of their limbs. Some members of the Class of 2008 likely will become legislators at the local, state and national levels. Several presidents could come from the Class of 2008.
That’s the thing about graduations and graduates. Each year’s class of graduates holds much promise. During “graduation season” each year, our hopes for a better city, county, state, nation and world are renewed. Each graduating class faces its own challenges.
In the early and mid-1940s, many graduates replaced mortarboards and diplomas with helmets and rifles. Their plans for their futures were put on hold as they fought in World War II. Some never had the chance to pursue their plans.
This nation progressed after the war.
In the 1950s into the early 1990s, graduates faced the Cold War and the looming threat of nuclear annihilation. They faced fears about someone pushing “the button” and sending missiles and bombers armed with nuclear weapons streaking across the world’s skies.
This nation survived the Cold War and saw it end.
On Sept. 11, 2001, graduates of the Class of 2001 learned that terrorism around the world meant terrorism in the United States at a level never experienced before. Some of those graduates were soon fighting in the war against terrorism, at home and abroad. Unlike their fathers and grandfathers who faced enemies wearing uniforms that made them easy to recognize, those graduates continue to face terrorists who don’t wear uniforms but spread death and destruction. They target anyone who doesn’t agree with their views on how the world should live.
Seven years later, members of the Class of 2008 will face many of those same challenges. They also face soaring oil prices, rocketing gasoline prices and an economy beset by many problems. Their futures are uncertain. Despite that uncertainty, their futures remain bright and full of potential.
Because they live in the United States of America, those graduates are blessed with resources and opportunities that will allow many of them to reach their fullest potentials. By just graduating, they are in a better position to improve their lives than many people who live in other areas of the world. Many of these graduates are deciding what they will do with their lives instead of trying to figure out where to find their next meals.
There’s no doubt these graduates will expect a lot from themselves.
If they help make the world just a little better place in which to live, can the world ask for more?
With the Class of 2008, the world may not have to ask for more.
For these graduates, there is no paint on the canvas and the clay is not molded.
The world waits for their creativity. The world needs their creativity.