What's Next?

Here we are again. It’s one of the most thrilling times for graduating seniors this month as they all prepare to finish their K-12 schooling, turn in all final assignments, pass all final exams, pay any last minute fees, enjoy the final moments of "Senior Status" and prepare to walk across a stage, diploma in hand and walk into their futures, a world that's awaiting their arrival, and ultimately what I've titled; their  "what's next?"

In the midst of exciting times for graduating seniors, I wonder how many have mapped out their "what's next?" Does their "what's next" consists of college, going straight into the workforce, military, travel or taking some time off, sitting still to figure out the "what's next?"

As exciting as graduation is for students, parents, families of the graduates, schools and even the community at large, I often wonder what goes through the minds of the graduates and the anxiety and fears around it all.

I can remember my moments as a graduating senior - the excitement was that built up and the hype of "going to college!" Times are different now. Students have so many options of a "what's next, " and my prayer for them is that they have some idea of what they would like to do with a tomorrow that's sure to come.

For many, I'm sure tomorrow will come, and plans will begin to unfold for those students who've mapped out the next years of their life. My real concern is for students who may have not. I hope that as a city and community help to still offer guidance and direction to the students who may not have it all yet figured out.

We do recognize that walking across that stage signifies an ending but also welcomes a beginning. I salute each of the graduates and celebrate this significant milestone. I pray that they continue to lead productive lives as adults and embrace their "what's next" believing wholeheartedly in themselves and that they are already on track to greatness only because they've completed this one milestone and the momentum is set to continue forward.

Does knowing what your "what's next" is matter? Yes! It does. Hopefully, our students are prepared, ready and excited about embracing a tomorrow that is and will come!

Congratulations to the Class of 2017!