As I drafted this post a couple of weeks ago, we were in the final stages of preparing for graduation and sending our senior class onto the next stage of their lives. This was the 91st graduating class since Lee High School’s first graduation back in 1925. While times have changed, the dreams of each member of this year’s graduating class remain largely the same. Each has left here with some uncertainty about the next steps but a strong sense of accomplishment, having successful completed the first thirteen years of their life-long education.
The overall goals of K-12 education have changed substantially since the first group of five Lee High School seniors graduated in 1925. In those days, the primary goal was to have as many students as possible complete at least the 8th grade with only about half attending all four years of high school. Those last four years were mainly intended to develop a basic level of knowledge and civic responsibility that ensured these new young adults could successfully gain employment in the many area industries, marry, rent or purchase a home, raise a family, and enjoy a reasonably secure lifestyle. Another handful of high school graduates would go on to college and pursue professional or managerial careers upon earning their degree. A few would serve in the military first.
Schools back then were designed to “sort and select” for the various needs of business and industry, but all that has changed with the onset of the 21st century. Today, our district is engaged in the continuing transformation of ensuring all of our students remain in school through the 12th grade, graduate ready to pursue a college degree or similar post-high school training, and gain successful employment in the new economy of jobs requiring higher skills and knowledge. The entire professional staff at Godfrey-Lee is continuously focused on changing our school structure, classroom teaching and learning processes, and programs designed to be more engaging for our students.
Our hope is that we have been on target in meeting the needs of this year’s graduating class and will have played a major role along with you, the parents, in their future success. We’re just as excited as they are for the next phase of life’s adventure and I wish each all the best.
As for the rest of our students and families, I look forward to your return this fall.