With the valedictorians seated behind her, Hope Christian School Administrator Connie Atchison reads a letter from a parent during the May 19 graduation ceremony. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)
With the valedictorians seated behind her, Hope Christian School Administrator Connie Atchison reads a letter from a parent during the May 19 graduation ceremony. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Oh, the places you’ll go

Published 4:43pm Tuesday, May 13, 2014

By GINNY COOPER / Staff writer

It struck me this past weekend that I can no longer say, “I just graduated in May,” because, though it seems to me to have only been a few, fleeting months ago, it was in reality over a year since I nervously walked across the stage for my diploma from The University of Alabama.

Students at the University of Montevallo recently experienced this same phenomenon at their commencement ceremonies on May 3. The graduation ceremonies were on the lawn of Flowerhill, the home of UM’s president, on a serendipitously sunny day.

For me, college graduation was both exhilarating and extremely frightening: “What am I going to do now?” and “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” were questions I positively did not have answers for, but I was anxious to experience life in the real world.

High school students all across Shelby County will be graduating soon, and whether they get a job, take a gap year or go straight to college, I can’t help but be excited (and a little bit jealous) as they discover a world beyond high school, and schools across Shelby County are working hard to make sure students are as prepared as possible for life after graduation.

Vincent Middle High hosted mock interview days, where interviewers from companies such as Cadence Bank, First United Security Bank, the Shelby County School System and Shelby County Newspapers, Inc. replicated an authentic job interview experience for students.

Linda Nolen Learning Center students prepared for the next step as well during the annual Dress to Impress fashion show, where students discerned what was and was not appropriate to wear to a job interview.

Shelby County students are also prepared for the next step academically, according to recent studies. Calera high school was recently ranked 15th on the list of best Alabama high schools in a study released recently by the U.S. News and World Report and Oak Mountain High School was listed on The Washington Post’s Most Challenging High Schools index.

In the words of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, which was read at my graduation and many others, “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!”

Ginny Cooper is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 12 or by email at ginny.cooper@shelbycountyreporter.com.

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