High Desert Hoofbeats
Continuing education...
by Sena Taylor Hauer
May 22, 2014 | 1034 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Almost 130 students will graduate from Grand County High School this week, many of them setting sail for adventures of higher education, military service and vocational training, and many going straight into the workplace.

My wish for each one of them is that they continue their education by making some effort to see the world outside of Moab. My second wish is that they consider coming back some day to build lives and careers here.

I think it’s important for people who are raised here to get away at least for a while, to get a taste of the world outside of our valley. We are an insular little town, and while people from all over the world share our sidewalks, streets and natural wonders, there is no discounting the fact that it’s a relatively small team of players who run the businesses, sit on our governing boards and make Moab run the way it does. Anyone who leaves will soon discover that there are similar teams running cities and communities across the globe, but the differences make for learning experiences of their own. The change of playing fields can be the biggest education a person can get.

I say these words in no effort to discount the opportunities that Moab can offer to anyone whose heart finds a home here. Moab’s career field is full of choices and advancement, and employers need good workers who can be their ambassadors to the world.

The staff of teachers at the high school is a case in point, but sort of in reverse. Many educators have moved to Moab and brought their skills to our town and to our students. They have shared their knowledge of past lives and educational opportunities while also stimulating their passions for wanting to live here. Some of the teachers grew up here, some went away and returned after a few years, and many were raised in other areas across the map but felt a calling to live in Moab, at least for a while.

This year’s commencement speakers, Ed DeFrancia and Richard Jenkinson, are individuals who each carved a niche here based on their passions for teaching, career and place. They, like most of the faculty, have enlightened our students by bringing the outside world into Moab. And now they are ready to go out again, in some new form or fashion. Other teachers are also leaving, after giving their hearts to the very students who are graduating. We will miss them. And hopefully their spots in front of the chalkboard will be filled by new bright minds who are eager to inspire students and to also be inspired by what Moab has to offer them.

As I watch the graduates fly from their nests, my heart aches a little for what they will encounter. Will those graduates who move away find happiness and fulfillment in ways that Moab can’t offer them? Will our little town keep a place in their hearts that will be a beacon of security, enjoyment and value? Can our town build new and more opportunities that will make it a place worth coming back to?

I certainly hope so. Moab is a challenging place to live. Housing costs often outweigh income levels. Scores of people have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Many of us work our fingers to the bone for a portion of the year, only to twiddle those very same fingers in the winter wondering if cash flow will return when spring rolls around. But we are fortunate to have business growth here, especially as other areas of the nation are experiencing rising unemployment and dwindling jobs. Is the work here, in a service-based economy, desirable? Yes and no. Thank goodness the natural wonders of our area are enough for many residents to make it worth their while to live and work here, if only for a time, before seeking life and career advancement elsewhere.

Good luck graduates. Good luck to the teachers who are moving on. I hope you will always think of Moab as home. We will miss you when you leave, and we will welcome you when you come back.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.