Well done class of 2020!

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

The grade 12 students at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School had their graduation ceremony this week.

Things proceeded a little differently than usual. Instead of filling the South Cariboo Rec Centre, students were called up to receive their diplomas spread out over two days with just a few school staff and photographers, as well as a few personal family members or friends in attendance. For some, as usual, graduation was quite emotional while others were, at least outwardly, a little more mellowed out.

Part of the student body may have found their graduation, on account of COVID-19, disappointing while others were impressed with what was put on in spite of it.

Either way, while it may not feel like it at the moment, neither the ceremony, parade or the absent prom, are the most important part of your school experience as it pales in comparison to the significance of the education you have received.

The positive relationship between education and income is well known, however, what fewer people may know is that the actual cognitive skills obtained play a major role in that; a 2011 study noted that as much as 53 per cent of the increase in income may be due to cognitive skills.

“This shows that, once properly measured, cognitive skills mediate to a considerable extent the relationship between education and earnings,” according to the study. “Skills that are rewarded on the labour market are not necessarily cognitive in nature. This suggests that our results may still underestimate the importance of human capital.”

Another 2013 study found that a single standard deviation increase in numeracy skills was associated with as much as a 28 per cent increase in wages in the United States.

In other words, professionally speaking, a very large chunk of the benefit is in everything students have spent the last 12 years learning. Of course, that’s just the professional side of things, nevermind personal edification, relationships and life lessons obtained. As much as it may be difficult to see right now, being faced with forfeiting regular celebrations, that’s still incredibly valuable and not something that any disease or anything else will ever take away.

Finally, COVID-19 doesn’t mean that your parents, friends and community members are any less proud of you. It’s a grand achievement even if we can’t acknowledge it in the usual ways.

Well done class of 2020!


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