The scene is familiar: excited students at a table overlooking proud parents and teachers with letters of intent before them. “Signing Day” has become a rite of passage for high school seniors intending to continue a sport in college.
However, Henrico County Public Schools in Virginia are celebrating students beginning careers immediately after graduation.
Instead of joining a college football or basketball team, these students are acknowledged for entering the workforce, and for seeking success and financial stability as opposed to going into massive debt by enrolling in college.
College has become a norm in society in spite of the financial risks, and job placement is no guarantee for graduates. The option is not for everyone, and we should be doing more to recognize those who are pursuing technical skills. The objective of education, at any level, is to prepare students for a successful career.
By definition, these seniors from Henrico County have taken the first step towards that goal.
At the signing ceremony, the students met with their future employers to sign letters stipulating what they would do throughout their employment, and outlining the training and benefits. It is a big affair, and in an era where promposals (ugh) are a thing, why not glorify and enthusiastically praise in public an alternative Signing Day?
Students wore hats and shirts representing their future place of employment, and it is worth noting that this is a moment to celebrate adulthood, and making strides towards independence.
Technical skills are in demand, and it’s about time we lift up tradesmen and tradeswomen across the country. Their contributions help make our communities stronger.
Students should feel encouraged to pursue paths towards success which best suits their individual goals. And there is nothing wrong with celebrating them as a community, and hopefully someday, as a society.