High School: It’s What You Make Of It

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some years back the old editor liked to scold high school freshmen and give them their marching orders as school began every August. Do your homework was the message, but I didn’t stop there. I also told them to get right with God, listen to their parents and keep an eye out for their long-range future.
All that finger wagging sounded right.
But it was too preachy. Too serious. Too cataclysmic.
None of the ninth graders listened. Parents liked it, but they weren’t the targeted audience.
Maybe I shouldn’t have hinted that one missed assignment might ruin their lives. Everybody can’t be valedictorian. Maybe I should have kept the long-range view myself.
Perhaps I should have told them life is also for living and enjoying, not just for huddling under a table lamp late at night doing algebra. Maybe I should have conceded that there are more colleges than UNC-Chapel Hill. In fact, Carolina might be very wrong for a student who is better suited emotionally for much smaller Catawba.
As Clemmons lawyer Dan Womble, who once advised the Davie County Board of Education, told a client, high school is what you make of it. No matter where it is.
That’s why they call him a counselor. That’s down right genius.
Life is what you make of it.
How many unforced errors destroy careers, ruin lives and cost us lots of money?
Wear a seat belt. It might save your life unexpectedly and avoid a whopping $160 fine and court fee. Spend that same money on something fun. Stay out of trouble. It’s expensive. A day in District Court is no picnic.
Wear a helmet when playing football.
Do your homework. That alone should be enough to keep you from failing a class.
Don’t speed. What’s the big hurry? If you don’t want to be late, start earlier. And if you are late, they’ll start without you. You’re not that important.
Two West Rowan High School students were killed in a car wreck minutes after leaving school Monday on the first day of school. Drive responsibly.
Show up for class. You might learn something, and you’ll have to make up all the missed work anyway.
I pushed Michael out the door Monday morning to meet the bus, much as I’ve done since his oldest brother started in 1986. That’s a lot of peanut butter sandwiches.
Here’s another axiom: Eat cafeteria food. Save your parents the bother of packing lunches.
Since I’m suddenly so full of advice, here’s more: Do stuff. Play sports, play in the band, join clubs, help out. Sometimes the smartest person in a school is the janitor. Learn his name, and thank him for cleaning up after you.
And finally a word to the parents: Don’t worry so much. Encourage your students and be positive about school and …