Graduation Season

Published by T. J. Holmes on Friday, June 1, 2012 at 11:42 am.

I don’t know when I first knew for sure that I was going to go to college. I think it was somewhere around birth. For that, my parents are owed a “thank you” from me, the government, and taxpayers.

By first ensuring that I would graduate from high school, my parents predetermined that I would earn an estimated $130,000 more over my lifetime than a high school dropout. And by going even further to ensure I went to and graduated from college, my parents padded my salary even more. A college grad like me will make $1 million more over a lifetime than a non-college graduate.

What does that mean to you? Since they guaranteed I’d make more money in my lifetime by graduating from high school and college, my parents gave the government a gift of increased tax revenue. High school dropouts aren’t able to earn and, therefore, contribute as much in taxes, so local, state and federal governments miss out on hundreds of billions in potential income. Since my parents guaranteed that I’d be contributing more to government revenues with the higher salary I could command from my education, they helped out their fellow taxpayers by keeping me from relying on government-funded programs.

In a way, then, we can all thank my parents. Because of them, I honestly believe my fate was sealed at birth. I wasn’t allowed to fail. It was never an option. My mother is a retired elementary school teacher. My dad was my high school principal. Needless to say, education was a focus around the Holmes house.

The fates of a lot of you young folks are being sealed right now because another graduation season is upon us. I’ve thought about my own parents as I’ve seen other families at restaurants around town having graduation dinners with their new grads. It’s such a celebratory season for beaming families who are so proud of what these young people have accomplished so far, and they’re hopeful about the years to come. You can’t help but smile at what is one of those signature, joyous moments in life for a family. But I find this season to be downright depressing, too.

Let me ask: when was your fate sealed… and who helped seal it? Share with me, @tjholmes, and join the @BETdontsleep community. We want to hear your stories.

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