Thousands of young men and women graduated from our region's high schools in the past week. They are the focal point of the special graduation section in today's edition.
Many of them have won special honors at their schools.
All of them have taken an essential step toward a successful, productive life by earning a high school diploma.
But like millions who have come before, they have cleared a big hill but have only reached the foothills of the mountain of challenges ahead of them in the future.
It's fair to say the challenges have never been greater.
Our world seems more complex than ever. If college is ahead of these graduates, they need to be careful to receive a practical education that fits career goals.
And that is getting more costly than ever.
If high school is the end of their education, they already are finding out that jobs don't grow on trees.
There is stress on the traditional family system that has shown itself in a variety of societal maladies in recent years from increasing crime to a breakdown in values and discipline. It feels harder than ever to live a contented life that follows a path that used to be the taken-for-granted best path.
Many of the elements that have made our country unique and the envy of all others seem to be under daily siege our freedoms, our safety nets for the elderly and economically challenged, our foreign policy challenges. We, as a society, need to change that.
But the good news is that these young people correctly empowered can be the answer to many of our problems.
Until further notice, we still believe right-minded, goal-oriented, practical, problem-solving individuals can change things for the better.
We challenge today's grads to be the difference makers of tomorrow.
We are counting on you!