The Bryan Times,

As a high school junior, I am incredibly fortunate to attend Bryan High School. BHS provides a lot of opportunities to their students that other schools neglect. However, the current American high school curriculum does not meet the requirement of setting students up for success after high school. Before 1980, FFA, Vo-Ag, welding and woodworking programs were a common staple in many high schools. Schools supported programs like these. By the 1990s, these programs had become a thing of the past.

It grew incredibly apparent to me as a freshman that students really do lack the essential skills to succeed outside of high school and college. Luckily for me, my parents took the high school’s lack of real-world programs into their own hands and put me into the Williams County 4-H program. I am now a 12-year member. As 2020 class president, I have organized countless homecoming float and prom buildings where students are commonly seen using staple guns, drills and utility knives. By students, I mean myself and possibly two others. Very few students had seen a staple gun or touched a drill prior to this.

I find it incredibly frustrating that schools do not provide the simple knowledge of using a tape measure or drill to their students. However, parents have a responsibility to ensure their child’s success as well. I am extremely proud to be part of the William County 4-H program — one that has taught me so much about working with people, animals and my hands. It has taught me how to be successful in the “real world.” 4-H not only provides such skills, but also is an outlet for self-discovery. The program allows kids and young adults to experiment with different interest areas that schools do not — photography, cooking, drug and alcohol awareness, psychology, welding, gardening and etc. For many, studying chemistry or government in a classroom is just not enough to gain a sense of direction in life after high school.

Schools and parents equally share the responsibility of creating successful adults. Parents, you have options. Let your kids have new experiences, whether that be through trade schools, 4-H or grandparents. Ultimately, you are responsible for your child’s success. Thankfully, my parents took that on and gave me those experiences.

Erika Grime

Junior, Bryan High School

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