Although high school memories are filled with thoughts of athletics, lifetime friendships, school dances and that one teacher who had it out for everybody, the real goal of preparatory education is to produce an educated student body that is properly prepared to enter the real world.

This is often overlooked as states and school districts focus more on standardized testing and less on making sure the next class of seniors is ready for the rigors of adult life.

That’s why the Woodburn Independent is pleased to see the good folks within the Gervais FFA Alumni partnering with the Gervais School District and local businesses to provide a breadth of opportunity for students to succeed outside the classroom.

Too often schools promote the education industrial complex that seeks only to maximize test scores and send every child to a four-year university.

While education in its own right is a noble journey, no student is built the same and not all students are interested in pursuing the same career path.

The members of the Gervais FFA Alumni recognize this fact and are attempting to provide as many different opportunities for students to find a future that works best for them.

Some students dream of taking that next step and going on to further their education at a university, but others can’t wait to say farewell to the halls of academia, strap on their boots and join the work force.

Those students should receive the same amount of encouragement and resources from the school district and the community as young adults who seek to go on to two- and four-year universities.

The Gervais FFA?Alumni has identified many local businesses and corporations that are in dire need of a new generation of vocational experts. Welders, crafters, truck drivers, electricians, mechanics and many more career opportunities are in high demand and provide an excellent living wage for those who wish to pursue the field of career technical education.

Of course, CTE?is not the antithesis to further education. Instead it is an alternative path for students who wish to apply their skills in technical and agricultural practices outside of the classroom.

Often, students who continue along the path of CTE education discover that their true passions lead back to the classrooms at Chemeketa, Oregon State or vocational schools. The Gervais FFA?Alumni and the Gervais School District understand that these opportunities are all intertwined, and that the more students are able to pursue their passions, the more fulfilling their life after high school will become.

High school is not just about building friendships and memories, it is about helping students discover who they are and who they want to be.

Schools that offer more paths to success after high school will ultimately enrich their community by producing a new generation of responsible, working adults that give back to society in countless ways.

Gervais’ CTE?programs are just one of many paths open to the school district’s young adults, and they should be encouraged on the same level that we inspire students to pursue secondary education

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