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Writing Tripe Since 2004
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Monday, September 18, 2006
I'd Kick His 17-Year-Old Behind Into Next Thursday
My second nephew, Taylor, is seventeen. Remember being seventeen? He lives in Oregon. Saturday, my mother spoke with him on the phone, and apparently he is considering not finishing out his senior year. My mom says that my brother and sister-in-law (who are no longer together) do not seem to be encouraging him to stay in school as much as they should. I don't know about that. BUT. I do know that if he were my kid, it wouldn't be his decision. If he were mine, he could either finish his senior year or enlist when he turned 18...which is probably why I'm not cut out to be a parent.

Mom wants me to write him a letter encouraging him to stay in school. I'd rather shake him. But, it's not my place. So I suppose my letter would go something along the lines of:

I remember how much High School sucked. How little I felt I was learning sometimes. How it was all about popularity and cliques and fights. . .and I can only image that it's gotten much worse since I've been there. I know that you are a man now, and a man makes his own decisions. But along with that, part of being an adult and making a decision includes examining not only what you want now, but what you will want in the future. You are so close to being done. You don't have to be valedictorian, you don't have to be homecoming king, or get all A's. . .all you have to do at this point is finish. Put your head down, charge through, and finish. Hate every minute, squeak by. Walk away with a diploma.

See, today, jobs that you could get with a High School Diploma are requiring a Bachelors Degree, jobs that you could get with a Bachelors Degree are requiring a Masters. Where does that leave someone who doesn't have a High School Diploma? That may not be the way the world should work, Taylor, but it is. Those 4 years in High School are going to seem like nothing to you almost as soon as you walk away from them, but you'll be spending the rest of your life in the working world.

I'm so proud of you. You're smart and funny and capable and handsome. You've got great taste in music (this is very important) and I'm so glad you're following in your grandfather's footsteps and taking up the guitar. You've dealt with so much in your life already, and you've dealt with it like a champ. Compared to everything else you've come through, these last months will be nothing. I love you and I wish you'd try.

I'd love to throw in some statistics, etc., but my instinct tells me that would be a mistake. What do you think? Is there anything I should add? He's soooo close. I wonder if he could test out? Does a GED count for less than a diploma? Any words of encouragement for him would be helpful.

Update: Scary Statistics

High school graduates, on the average, earn $9,245 more per year than high school dropouts. (Employment Policy Foundation, 2002).

In today's workplace, only 40% of adults who dropped out of high school are employed, compared to 60% of adults who completed high school and 80% for those with a bachelor's degree (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2003c).

Employment projections indicate that jobs requiring only a high school degree will grow by just 9% by the year 2008 while those requiring a bachelor's degree will grow by 25% (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2003e).

High school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested in their lifetime (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2003a).

The U.S. death rate for those with fewer than 12 years of education is 2.5 times higher than the rate of those with 13 or more years of education (alliance for Excellent Education, 2003b).

posted by LoRi~fLoWer
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