Honoring our local graduates

The Laker/Lutz News is once again honoring our local high school graduates by publishing their names in today’s newspaper.

Beginning on page 7A, we are recognizing more than 3,500 students from the 11 high schools in our distribution area. This is the 11th consecutive year we’ve published this edition, a popular keepsake for the families we serve.

It is an honor to acknowledge our community’s young people who have worked so hard to achieve this goal.

Graduating from high school is an accomplishment that sets our kids on a path to success as they enter adulthood, and one that is critical to their future.

We read and hear much today about how our youths are attached to their digital devices and out-of-touch with anything that does not directly involve them. But, I believe that perception is greatly exaggerated, and that today’s teens are no different in their interests, worries and aspirations than those of other generations.

Graduating from high school has always required commitment and perseverance. And, like the classes before them, the Class of 2018 consists of good kids who focused on their studies, listened to their teachers and parents, and worked hard to complete the many requirements needed for graduation. They dream, as other graduates before them — to live a fulfilling life and help make the world a better place.

High school graduation is also a testimony to parents, who kept their child focused on achieving this important goal. It was their support, encouragement and confidence in their son or daughter that kept their student going when they didn’t want to do their homework or go to school and, in some cases, had even considered dropping out.

Over the next few weeks, students will proudly walk across the stage and accept their diplomas as their parents watch from the stands. The emotional high both will experience is the culmination of 18 years of love between a parent and child, and the persistence, patience and prodding that comes with good parenting.

So, it will be with well-deserved pride that parents search the listings in our graduation section to find their child’s name. And, joining them in that search will be grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends, and, of course, the graduate, too.

For most members of the Class of 2018, this edition of The Laker/Lutz News will be the first time that the graduate will see his or her name in print. There is something innately exciting and very tangible about having your name printed in a newspaper that is also read by your family, friends, neighbors and people you know through church, community groups, and sports and recreational activities.

Many of you reading today’s newspaper will circle or highlight the names you recognize, and will proudly put the section aside to save with your most treasured items.

Offering public acknowledgement of each student’s achievement and providing families a keepsake of this important milestone, are among the reasons we continue our tradition of producing an annual graduation section.

The names of the graduates are listed by school, in alphabetical order, in our eight-page section. In Pasco County, graduates are from Land O’Lakes, Pasco, Sunlake, Wesley Chapel, Wiregrass and Zephyrhills high schools. In Hillsborough County, graduates are from Steinbrenner and Freedom high schools.

In your edition of the paper, will find graduate names from the two high schools closest to where you live, and also the names of valedictorians and salutatorians from these schools. In addition to graduates from our public schools, we also publish the names of graduates from three private schools in our community — Academy at the Lakes, Bishop McLaughlin Catholic and Land O’ Lakes Christian high schools.

We are proud to contribute, in some small measure, to the emotional excitement that graduation brings.

We hope that one day the graduates listed in this section will pull it out to share with their children and grandchildren — so that future generations will be able to see a physical reminder of their loved one’s accomplishment, as printed proudly in their local community newspaper.

Published May 16, 2018

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