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The essence of education

POSTED May 10, 2011 9:31 p.m.

With the world metamorphosing, it’s no surprise that young children need to be implanted with the seeds of concept, consciousness, and charm needed for tomorrow. 

Forty years ago, we basked in our supremacy as America’s high school graduation rate boasted number one. Why is it then, when time should generate improvement, we are instead struggling to keep our current grasp on rank nineteen? I believe the answer, the key solution, lies in the students themselves.

The immense industrial, mechanical, and technological advances have established a worldwide frenzy as individuals are thrust into this “Era of Revival.” The click of seven buttons allows two friends, situated miles away, to converse. The flick of a switch illuminates an entire room instantaneously. The stroke of a few keys gives people a direct passageway to the worldwide web.

With such easy access and all things provided, adolescents and teenagers alike have forgotten that it all began with a simple passion – a spirit to seek, a desire to discover. All theorems, inventions, novelties, processes, and devices originated when individuals strived to chase down, to pursue, the unknown and unprecedented.

What we, as Americans, are tasked with now is to institute that same venturesome spirit amongst our new generation of youth. Parents, educators, and individuals alike must solidify together to immerse American children in learning’s stream. I hope you will join me in doing so.

Aside from all other elements, education is one of the single most significant factors in determining whether an individual will thrive in this world. Annual earnings depend immensely upon it. On average, dropouts will earn $200,000 less in their lifetime than high school graduates will. Students who attended college can accumulate $800,000 more in a span of decades than high school dropouts can.

Clearly, salary rates are directly proportional with one’s academic base. Education can also play a decisive role in one’s character. It signals great tenacity and perseverance in an individual for having devoted those many years to the pursuit of intelligence, whereas high school dropouts are twice as likely to commit crimes for monetary gains.

Finally, it's safe to say that knowledgeable people can be better equipped to act when abrupt circumstances arise. For instance, a nurse could manage a small medical emergency, such as a sprained ankle, much more swiftly and confidently than an individual with little knowledge of the most basic anatomical concepts could.

Indeed, education begets many a desirable outcome, but we need not forget that the knowledge is itself a reward and oblivion is itself a punishment. As Albert Einstein nobly proclaimed “Never regard your study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know ... for your own personal joy, and for the profit of the community to which your later work belongs.”

Knowledge seldom gets damaged, lost, or forgotten. It stands firmly rooted, resolute, and resolved.

In the end, I often question, what is left? What more is needed for us to grasp that individual empowerment and plunge forward? Heart is to life as contingency is to prosperity. The utter credence upon imagination and tenacity was once the gist of existence. Long gone, it seems, is that passion to habitually baffle and outwit ourselves for pure satisfaction. What else will it take for us to see that mankind, situated in this world of wonders, is truly at a chase against the clock?

The discoveries so celebrated today are mere pockets in the cloak of our capabilities, but are excellent indicators of the notion that it is in learning we thrive. Those undaunted individuals that let their passion propel them to potential's peak live the solid proof of the essence of education. And if, fused in unison with driving ambition, America lunges onward in a pursuit of wisdom, I believe there's no telling what might become of our true ingenuity.

There's no turning back. This is it.

— Henna Hundal is a resident of Turlock and will be entering the International Baccalaureate program at Modesto High in fall. She writes a monthly column on issues related to youth and our society. To contact her, e-mail news@turlockjournal.com, subject: Henna Hundal.

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