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Mayor’s Column – January 17, 2018

January 17, 2018


Last week I appealed the young generation the importance of staying in school to obtain that far-off-in-the-mists-of-time degree or Red Seal trade designation. Please humor me once more while I again belabor (belabour) the point. We are well into January now and the winter doldrums may be lulling you scholars bent over your books. (Ice fishing or mountain skidooing may beckon tirelessly; give in, but don’t give in too often.) The end of June might seem lost in another realm of time. But it’s not. The end of June with High School Graduation will come. It will. And High School Graduation is the door through which you must go to enter most secondary disciplines. Hang in there and graduate.

While you pour over the books, write essays, solve math challenges, and discover the secrets of physics or chemistry or, why not, the mysteries of past ages, other steps must also be taken: finding the right post-secondary institution, learning what scholarships (more to be desired than student loans) are available in your field of interest, discovering your real interests and passions.

Post-secondary education is expensive; so is ignorance – only more so. Every scholarship you can obtain is more than worth the time it took to research and apply for it. But most scholarships require a level of achievement in secondary school subjects that is attained only through consistent hard work. That’s your job for the next few months. If you haven’t been especially diligent in your past, maybe you still have time to turn that history around. It’s worth a desperate try.

Are there well-paying occupations that do not require secondary graduation? Maybe; but not many these days. One hundred years ago one had a better chance of getting ahead without High School graduation. My dad struggled hard to earn his daily bread. He didn’t become rich but he left his kids a rich heritage called a hard-work ethic. I think if there had been a school of any kind when he was young he would have jumped at the chance to get an education. He had to get his education with a tough teacher; he taught himself. It’s called experience.

If your passion is to be the owner-operator of a tri-drive, well, maybe you don’t need a secondary education. (Good operators with well-honed skills and healthy attitudes are hard to find.) But I would bet my old age that the success and satisfaction you achieve as that owner-operator will correlate strongly with the consistent hard work you demonstrated during your high school adventure. It seems that no matter which way you cut it, the degree of success you achieve as a young adult can be traced to the effort you put into your history, English, math, science, and social studies during the marvelous opportunities you have as a teen ager in school. Don’t fritter away time that can never be recovered.

Now a little more about scholarships. The District of Chetwynd funds a $5000 scholarship each year that is not entirely grade based. That is, the judges will look at the full spectrum of you. Your grades do matter but equally so your total experience. Among other criteria we will ask about your volunteering practices, how you have been a role model to younger people, how you might have made the lives of the aged more easy to bear, and how our home town is a better place because you are here. The scholarship will go to a well-rounded citizen of our home town.

Ask your Counsellor to get you the details. But don’t waste your time. June is almost here.

Oh, by the way, “the difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems” (Mahatma Gandhi: 1869-1948).


Merlin Nichols, Mayor