Better luck, future | editorial

The recent increase in the number of teens graduating from Bremerton High School should be applauded. Regardless of how the increase occurred, each one of those additional students to get a diploma will face a life of better luck, advantage and access.

It’s notable too that as the four year high-school student graduation rate in Bremerton jumped from 60 percent in 2006 to 88 percent in 2010 – the length of a prescribed high school education – so too did the five-year high school student graduation rate rise. It rose to 96 percent, which is six percent higher than the average percentage of total number of citizens that reported having a high-school diploma in the City of Bremerton.

It’s good for the whole community when 36 more students out of every 100 students in Bremerton gain the first real ticket to adulthood and the rest of life. The community should continue to work hard and maintain the high rate of matriculation regardless of whether the student takes four or five years. In reality, the percentage of college students that take five years to graduate has been on the rise for more than a decade.

It’s damning to know that at one time Bremerton allowed 40 to 60 percent of its children to move into adulthood without the very basic advantage of a high-school diploma, a number that matches almost exactly the number of students who receive free or reduced lunch and breakfast – poor kids in a town with a 20 percent poverty rate. However, it has not been just the kids from the challenged neighborhoods that quit before earning their diploma. Spread across town are former students from every level of socioeconomic status without that diploma.

Those scores of students now matriculated, no matter their delay or trouble, can now build a life out of whatever they dream up. Many will have to begin at the community college level to gain full access to higher education and surpass 80 percent of the local population with a college degree, or the start of a personal empire. Others will begin their future by joining the military with the help of that diploma, or take a union job in the local manufacturing industry. Regardless of their choice, they have a chance.


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