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If you're a 2022 grad and you're reading this, you will achieve great things

The fact that this column has reached your eyes means that there are people who love and care about you, and that is a powerful thing. ๐Ÿ’—
Grad credit Glenn Taylor WEB
The support and love we show our grads is vitally important.

If you are a 2022 grad reading these words right now, then you are on the right path to a great and productive life.

How do I know that? Well, first of all, you can read. That’s important!

When the smartphone took over the world there was a lot of hand-wringing from worried adult-type people that kids would never learn to read or write again and would communicate solely through internet acronyms and smiley faces.

But, of course, that hasn’t happened – you all are growing up in a golden age of information and are well equipped to wield words to make the world better. So, way to go, high school education! Lol :)

Second of all, you are reading something published in a traditional newspaper, a trusted news source that you should see as a safety beacon floating in that sea of information you are flooded with every day. The fact that you are reading this shows you’ve learned something about telling the difference between content created by a local news source that is invested in your community, and the firehose of misinformation and marketing schemes that is constantly spraying everyone around the world willy-nilly.

As the world gets ever more connected digitally, being able to identify what sources to trust will be a critical part of creating the next generation of smart citizens. And you’re already passing the test.

So you’ve got both media literacy and literacy literacy going for you, which is great!

But what’s even greater to think about is how you came to be reading this.

We know that not many teenagers read newspapers. That’s just the way it is. Our industry’s social media gurus tell us that young people are hungry for news, but you don’t get it from newspapers or TV or radio or even the websites associated with those traditional media sources. You probably aren’t going to sources like Twitter or Facebook either – those are for old people, like me and Rihanna.

We know that if you want the news, many of you go to a place you are familiar with: TikTok. For the old-timers reading this – anyone over age 24, I mean – you may be surprised to hear that TikTok isn’t just for dancing anymore. Or maybe you have no idea what TikTok is, which is probably fine for you and you should feel free to carry on with your life.

Anyway, TikTok is a go-to information source for the next generation, but the North Shore News isn’t on TikTok (yet). So how did you, a teenager, end up with your eyes on this newspaper column?

I’ll tell you how. One option is that you are that rarest of unicorns: the teen who of their own free will seeks out and reads the local community newspaper. If this is the case, congratulations on being shockingly engaged in local community affairs. I can’t wait to come celebrate with you at the after-party following your election as mayor in 10 years.

What’s much more likely, however, is that someone you know shared this with you. They sent you the link, or clipped it out of the newspaper, or maybe they even placed an ad in our special grad section congratulating you on your achievement. And do you know what’s so great about that?

There is a 100 per cent guarantee the person who shared this with you cares about you. They are proud of all you have accomplished. They are invested in your future. You’re reading this because they wanted you to know you mean everything to them. They love you.

And that, dear grad, is a powerful thing. That love, that support, means you have the foundation underneath you to help you reach great heights.

Now, I know that many teens might look at a message like this and think it’s corny, or lame, or just trying too hard. I get it. My own kids would tell me that.

But it’s an important message all the same. You have people in your corner rooting for you. And my challenge to you, if you are reading this, is to take that strength that you’ve been given, and give it back into the world. Share that love with a family member who needs it. Bring it with you to your university dorm next year. Show that same support to a teammate or co-worker or friend who needs it.

You’re on a great path. The only thing better is sharing that path with others.

This column originally appeared in the Graduation 2022 special print feature in the June 22, 2022 edition of the North Shore News.

Andy Prest is the sports and features editor of the North Shore News. His lifestyle/humour column runs biweekly.

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