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Editorial — Aim high, grads, and look before you leap

If any town has a reason to look forward to the end of a school year, it’s Austin. The past six months have been a bumpy ride for the school district and, although some significant hurdles lie ahead, we look forward to a fresh start for Austin Public Schools next fall.

But first things first. Twelve students already have accepted their diplomas from Pacelli High School, and tonight 235 seniors at Austin High School will walk across a stage to hearty applause as they prepare to enter the next stage of their lives.

We hope they do so with the full knowledge that the only limits on the opportunities that await them will be the ones they place there themselves.

Telling graduates to "aim high" might sound like trite advice, but that doesn’t make it invalid. Parents, teachers and the entire community have a lot invested in these young people, and our society depends on their potential coming to full fruition, regardless of whether they take their diplomas to college, a trade school, back to a family farm or straight into the job market.

There are, of course, pitfalls ahead, as the exuberance and freedoms of early adulthood lead to mistakes and bad choices. Everyone makes them, and valuable lessons can be learned from them.

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But life and reputation can be fragile. Some mistakes can have lasting consequences.

So, as the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" echo throughout Riverside Arena this evening, we remind graduates that great adventures await them, but it’s OK to look before you leap. Sometimes it’s best to go home when friends would rather keep the party going. Living for the moment is great, but only as long as you keep one eye on tomorrow, too.

And, to the parents in Austin who are about to see their children try to find their own way, we ask that the lines of communication remain open. Continue to be there for your kids in good times and bad. Give graduates their freedom, and be confident that the lessons you’ve taught them will yield fruit in good time.

Most of all, make sure that when your kids leave the nest, they understand that there is no statute of limitations on parenthood. It’s for life.

Make us proud, graduates. And no matter where life takes you, remember that Austin will always be home.

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