This week is a special one for thousands of local teenagers and also for their parents and extended family.

By the time this newspaper reaches your hands on Wednesday morning, several of our area’s 11 high schools will have enjoyed their graduation ceremonies.

By all accounts, the Class of 2019 is a good one.

Local schools have tallied the numbers and literally tens of millions of dollars have been given to them in the form of collegiate scholarships.

Statistics are also in that show that graduation numbers locally are also up — climbing to historical levels. This also is a sign that tomorrow’s leaders have promise.

To the members of the Class of 2019, we congratulate you on your accomplishments. To some, the process of completing grade school may seem remedial or may be an achievement that is taken for granted. But to get on that stage and grab that diploma marks 13 years of hard work, dedication and the ability to conquer goals. And that, no matter what anyone may say, is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

But, of course, this is just one goal of many in your lives. And now, you all are at a crossroads and the decisions you make for the rest of your lives will shape both your own personal prosperity, but also the prosperity of our community.

In this Class of 2019 are future doctors who will heal the sick, future lawyers who will defend the innocent and future teachers who will give knowledge to our children.

In this Class of 2019 will be future engineers who will design our infrastructure, future carpenters who will take those plans and build them to life and future husbands, wives, moms and dads to live in those homes and turn our community into a home.

But the world stops and waits for no one. If unable to stay focused and on the right track, we regret to inform you that the Class of 2019 will also produce people who do not live up to expectations — even some who turn to crime or other unfortunate methods to try and stay afloat.

The statistics are the statistics. The numbers never lie.

Now, it’s up to each of you to rise up and decide which side you want to be on for your adult lives.

The world is challenged right now in many ways.

Politically, we are divided — locally and nationally. And it will be up to you, our future leaders, to rise into those prominent positions in the future and make decisions that best represent our local interests.

Locally, we are in the midst of a prolonged economic slump — all at a time when our coast continues to wash away.

Wise decisions are needed and a lot of those decisions are going to be made someday by the young men and women who have walked across the stage in the past few days.

And we have faith in you all to work hard toward better solutions.

Do not believe the words spoken by the naysayers who say that “today’s generation” is different from others.

Those people have lost sight of what it’s like to be young. Every generation has had their flaws.

Google life as a teenager in the 1960s and 1970s and you will see that those people slinging those darts likely have skeletons in their own closets to hide from when they were in your shoes.

Rise above that doubt and overcome. It’s all out there for the taking.

Exceed all expectations and know that the sky is the limit.

With hard work, dedication and a little faith, good things can happen to everyone.

Congrats to the entire Class of 2019 — on behalf of the entire team at Rushing Media.

May the rest of your lives be the best of your lives.

We look forward to following you all as you make the news in the coming years. We think this is a journey that’s going to be fun to tell and share with the entire Houma-Thibodaux area.

May there be more good than bad.

We’ll be watching. •

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