By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: May 15, 2019 | 1:45 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – Graduation is just a few weeks away for dozens of Dinwiddie High School young men and women, along with the beginning of the next chapter of their lives at a variety of different higher education institutions, vocational and technical training centers, or enlistment in the U.S. military.
Last Friday, Dinwiddie High School’s seniors gathered together to take part in “Decision Day” to celebrate the commitment of students ahead of their graduation in June, enjoying the beautiful spring weather while also getting a chance to share the news of where they will be heading after they walk across the stage to receive their diploma next month.
Decision Day dates back to 2015, when former First Lady Michelle Obama declared May 1 as national “College Signing Day” in an effort to spark American students to take charge of their future by “completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.”
“Today, to achieve the ‘American Dream’ more students must take on education past high school. Not only do three-quarters of the jobs in the 21st century require education and training beyond a high school diploma, but the average worker with a bachelor’s degree will earn approximately $1 million more than a worker who only has a high school diploma over the course of a lifetime,” officials with Better Make Room, an organization partnered with the former first lady on the initiative said. “Once first in the world in college completion, the U.S. has fallen to 12th finding itself falling behind in the race to educate our children and its ability to be competitive in today’s global economy.”
The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia has come to support the event in recent years, following suit with local school divisions in communities across the Commonwealth.
“The goal of Decision Day is to recognize all high school seniors for their postsecondary plans and encourage younger students and families to prepare early for postsecondary education,” the council said. “It is important that we celebrate this big step for seniors and involving underclassmen helps to build a stronger college-going culture and informed student pipeline.”
In Dinwiddie County, the encouragement was hard to miss as hugs were shared among students as they wore shirts featuring their post-high school plans, ranging from Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, Virginia State University, and a number of branches of the United States armed services.
“Dinwiddie High School’s guidance department put on a great event for the students,” school division spokesperson Christie Clarke shared.
During Friday’s special event, students enjoyed food and music, along with a special raffle for gift cards, a coffee maker, a mini fridge, and other college freshman must-haves!
In addition, the event gave the graduating seniors the opportunity to share kind words and reflections for the teachers who guided them through four years of education thanks to a special “Gratitude Table,” which saw plenty of foot traffic as students put pen to paper to thank the educators who helped them along the way.
“As this tradition continues, we are thrilled to take part in a network of over 1,500 events nationwide right here in Dinwiddie,” Clarke said. “Celebrating our seniors’ success means more than a party; it means they know we are proud of their hard work, investment in their futures, and excited to see what they do next.”
The Dinwiddie High School Class of 2019 will graduate on June 14 at Virginia State University’s multipurpose center in neighboring Ettrick in Chesterfield County.