Every graduate deserves an A for effort

Steve Lyon
There are a few events that come
around every year that are always
uplifting, and high school graduations
are one of them.
I can’t count how many I have been
to – dozens, at the least, over the many
years working at community
newspapers. It’s a big moment
for both the jubilant
seniors and their equally jubilant
At commencement, the
parents usually have just as
big a smile on their faces as
the students. It’s not just a
feeling of glee that a son or
daughter will be moving out
of the basement in the fall to
attend college, either.
Getting a child through
high school and enduring the
trials and tribulations of the
teen years is an accomplishment for everyone
involved. It truly is one of those
milestones we all remember.
What I remember is paying off lost
book fines just days before commencement
so the high school would let me
Life’s big questions about the future
and careers will come soon enough for
members of the Class of 2019. Right
now, it’s about celebrating the culmination
of 12 years of public education, that
Jeffersonian ideal we hold dear in this
country that every citizen is entitled to a
free education.
The high-achievers are bestowed with
honors and accolades and rightly so. But
even the seniors who barely
squeaked through high
school deserve a passing
grade for perseverance.
They stuck it out in good
times and bad and that’s an
important life lesson, a testament
to character. Finishing
a marathon in 50th place is
still a pretty worthy accomplishment
if you ask me. I
don’t care if you are crawling
over the finish line on
your hands and knees.
I’m a fan of bringing in
an outside speaker for commencement.
The best commencement
speakers have achieved in our meritocracy,
where money and the privilege that
comes with it don’t get you a Ph.D or the
job as CEO. Hard work and effort win
the day.
The most inspiring speakers are those
who have focused and succeeded despite
big odds in life.
A senior at Weiser High School that
was recognized at the recent scholarship
assembly has a ton of the right stuff.
He had a rock solid 3.3 GPA, not the
highest in the student body, but he also
overcame some big hurdles.
I’m not sure many have the grit this
kid has, myself included. As he was introduced
by principal Dave Davies, I
was moved by what I heard.
His teachers nominated him for the
award. He gave his best effort and
worked hard all year, despite the obstacles
that life put in his way.
Due to some family dynamics, this
student has been living on his own during
his senior year. He worked 40 hours
a week to make a paycheck. He shouldered
some heavy responsibility for a
kid in high school.
He worked all night at a job to keep a
roof over his head and then went straight
to high school in the day. He caught an
hour of sleep in the hallways at school
before class.
He’s going to graduate and receive
his diploma this Sunday at Weiser High
School’s commencement.
Talk about an inspirational story. This
kid could teach us all something about
what it takes to succeed when it is tough
to keep going. Well done, young man.
Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser
Signal American. Contact him at


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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