Celebrating Educational Achievements

This week members of the Junior National Honor Society from Logan Middle School visited the Governor’s Mansion.

These fifty-students exemplify self-driven success, recognize the importance of education and are on the road to achieve their dreams-whatever those dreams may be.

I want to see more of our youth set goals and go after their goals with a passion that is second to none. We, as a community, can make this happen. We must take the time to invest in our children’s future. Educators at every level know there is only so much they can do without the support of the student, the student’s family and the community. As your Governor, it is a top priority for me to build bridges between student school life, home life and community life through a drop-out prevention initiative I proposed this Legislative Session.

My proposal encourages parents, educators, administrators and community leaders to come together and develop specific programs to keep their students interested and thriving in school. It is important that the program is specifically tailored to the needs of the student in their particular community.  When this is done, I believe such programs can keep potential drop-outs from falling away from the education they deserve. Under my proposal, these school sponsored programs can request state funding to execute their plan.  The plans that are developed will focus on students who are showing signs of disinterest in their studies-some of whom begin to show such signs as early as the sixth grade.

Dropping out of school is a process, not an event, with factors building and compounding over time. There is no silver bullet, no one program and no one fits-all cure for dropout prevention. A systemic approach which includes identifying at risk students sooner rather than later will make a difference. We all must be willing to take responsibility for students staying in school and I believe my drop-out prevention legislation is the first step to committing to that pledge.

The very students sitting in the sixth grade who skip class, possibly fail tests, and act out in school  today may very well be members of their school’s Junior National Honor Society chapter the very next year. If we make a commitment to these children now we can make a difference not only in their lives but in the community as a whole. When we have drop-outs, the student will suffer life challenges that are difficult to overcome. And too, the community suffers as these students become adults who have a difficult time finding work and establishing careers. Our youth need our help to realize their dreams – whatever they may be. A solid education is the way.

I congratulate our state’s Junior National Honor Society members and remind all West Virginians that when we build up the foundation of the community by encouraging our youth to stay in school, our communities and our state become that much stronger.

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