Last Modified: Thursday, May 17, 2012 8:39 PM
’Tis the season for diplomas and mortarboards, tassel turns and Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.”
College and, in particular, high school graduates who have or will walk down an aisle or across a stage this week to receive that hard-earned parchment have reached a watershed moment in their lives.
They should be proud of their accomplishments, as should their parents or guardians, other family members and friends.
Many high school graduates have plans to further their education at four-year universities or community or technical colleges. Others have committed to or soon will join one of the branches of this country’s armed services. Others will continue their current employment or enter the workforce to begin providing for themselves and others.
If they need inspiration or motivation for that next step on their life journey, they need look no further than Southwest Louisiana’s favorite son, Josh Ledet.
The Westlake singing phenom’s meteoric rise on “American Idol” is a tribute not only to Josh’s talent, but his persistence.
One year ago, Josh did not make it past the audition stage for the 10th season of “American Idol.” It would have been easy for him to let his dream die right there. Others probably have. Not Josh.
Determined to make his mark, he came back, worked his way through the auditions and made it to the big stage in Los Angeles.
He credits a wonderful support system from family and friends for spurring him on.
But what would have happened if someone had told Josh that he was following an impossible dream, that there was no way he could make it to the “American Idol” finals, that he didn’t have the talent or drive to succeed? And what would have happened if Josh had listened and followed that advice?
American history books are filled with stories of perseverance — of men like Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Edison, who overcame long odds and failure, of women like Susan B. Antony and Helen Keller who overcame societal barriers and physical hardships, of civil rights giants Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks, who overcame injustice to leave an inedible mark on their world.
And there’s the words of legendary film producer Samuel Goldwyn who once observed, “the harder I work, the luckier I get.”
Maybe there’s no one else in Southwest Louisiana with Josh Ledet’s singing talent. But who are we to surmise that? Maybe there is another singer with Ledet’s talent, and just as importantly, his drive and tenacity.
But while none of the rest of us may make “American Idol” that doesn’t mean we cannot become an “American Idol” as a teacher, a fireman, a plumber, an accountant, even a journalist.
To all graduates, never lose sight of your dreams. Never give less than your best effort. Never forget that education should be a lifetime experience.
Hence, commit to being a lifetime learner.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.