Friday, February 27, 2015

Successful College or Even High School Dropouts as Commencement Speakers: When and Why Not?

By:  Gilbert M. Forbes

Yearly, we do witness different graduation and commencement exercises but none so far could one remember that he listens to successful vocational, blue collar individuals as commencement speakers.  Much less from those street-smart people who are all successful in their own rights.

For sometime, over the years, we have heard of Bill Gates, as a commencement speaker at Harvard and we were surprise to learn that he is a college undergraduate.  He only reached third year college.

Most, of us would say, he could be an exemption because of his contribution that revolutionizes information technology and the world wide web super high way today.   But what about should we say simple
Edgar "Injap" Sia II, Mang Inasal Founder is a college dropout.
He is 36 and is now worth around $90 Million. 

people who created an impact in our respective communities?

Let say a common dirty successful, popular and in-demand mechanic, entrepreneurs in our respective communities? A simple farmer who because of diligence, thrift and industry created a great stride that led him to success.  Or a dry goods high school drop out helper who later on become an owner of her own dry goods, ready to wear clothing store.  Are we creating a wrong notion that the only way to success is a complete formal education?  A college degree for all?

The resounding fact is, its not!  However, what we educators, parents, and the public are unknowingly or unsuspectingly doing is that, we create a wrong notion that the only best way to success is through formal education and a college diploma.  The truth however is, its not.  There are lots of opportunities and path ways to learn and be successful.

By inviting and having successful college or even high school dropouts as graduation or commencement speakers does not undervalue formal education.  Instead, it would but encourage everybody that there are just simply limitless ways and possibilities to learn and be successful.  A college diploma is only one of those.

College education is not the only way.  What we need is to find our niche as early as possible.  Now, fellow educators, teachers, parents, policy makers out there, how are we preparing our children and youth to find their niche as early as possible.  What kind of impression is created and implanted during these momentous occasions?

Graduation exercises, even recognition programs should be taken as a wonderful opportunity in establishing and creating a more hopeful batch of elementary and high school graduates.   At the end becoming socially relevant for it may contribute to decrease job mismatch and unemployment percentage and so economic progress.

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(Mr. Gilbert M. Forbes is an educator who was also a victim of financial ignorance.  Upon stumbling on a financial literacy book a decade ago, financial literacy or wellness has become a part of his personal advocacy aside from politics, good governance, education and environment.  He holds baccalaureate and post-graduate studies from the Philippine Normal University and have been a school head for more than ten years now.)
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