Publisher's Notebook – Graduation

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Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2019 1:24 pm

Congratulations to all the graduates this month at all levels. Graduation is special, not only to the graduates but to their families.

My high school graduation ceremony at Sioux Falls Washington was long. Over 930 walked across the stage and the Sioux Falls arena was filled to capacity. A second Sioux Falls high school, Lincoln High, opened that fall.

Four years later, I picked up my bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming on June 1. It snowed. Ironically, it also snowed on the first day of class after Labor Day when I started as a freshman.

I also had a special group – the seniors where I student taught the last nine weeks of my senior year. It was in a community of 7,000 located on an Indian Reservation. The class mix had natives, town kids, ranch kids, migrant Hispanic kids and kids whose parents commuted to the uranium fields. Welcome to diversity.

One of the classes I taught was Civics; some schools call it Government. Elected officials of both parties in Washington, D.C. should take the course that the diverse group of students in Wyoming took. We read and discussed the Constitution. A lot of people talk about the constitution but have never read it or discussed it with anyone.

We discussed our democracy and how it works with three equal branches of government providing checks and balances, without making the discussion Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. With those biases gone, the students had amazing discussions to truly understand the system and how it should work.

May this year’s graduates at all levels understand what has made our democracy work for over 200 years. May they provide the leadership needed to preserve our democracy.