July 5, 2012

From The Executive Director

Posted in From The Executive Director, New Horizons Educational Program tagged , , , , at 3:45 pm by Lund

Photo by Cat Cutillo

In June, I had the great honor to be at Lund’s alternative education program’s graduation and to say a few words.  The following week I attended my daughter’s high school graduation. While the New Horizon’s graduation and honoring ceremony is always very moving for me, the juxtaposition of the two events this year has given me even more pause to think about the important role that education plays in our society.  I am sharing an abbreviated version of my comments from the Honoring Ceremony with you:

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
– Nelson Mandela

Photo by Cat Cutillo

Welcome, my name is Barbara Rachelson and I am proud to be the Executive Director of Lund. It is my great honor to be here today to welcome everyone to our annual Lund honoring ceremony.

First and foremost, I want to thank each of you who are being honored today. Next, I want to welcome and congratulate family and friends of our honorees and graduates. Thank you for coming to help share in the glory.


I am happy to have you here today and so proud of all each of you has accomplished.

  • The national graduation rate is 68 percent, with nearly one-third of all public high school students failing to graduate.

Despite the extra challenges that you have all had in advancing your education, you have worked hard to get closer or accomplish the goal of completing high school.

Education is something that will take you far in your lives in being able to live your dreams.

In today’s world, education and knowledge are essential for success.

Research shows that

The best thing you could ever do for your career and future earnings is to finish high school. By the work you have done earning your degree or working toward your high school degree or GED, even though it’s been hard, you are making big steps into a brighter future for yourself and your children.

1.    Your education will help you to have a higher income.

  • Graduating from high school significantly DECREASES the chances of living in poverty.

A Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children study in 2008 found that high school dropouts are twice as likely to live in poverty as those who graduate and three times as likely as someone who takes at least some college courses.

2.  Education increases your chances of getting a job.

  • Independent of the poor wages for high school dropouts, the ability to even find a job is limited for those without a high school diploma. Unemployment rates for high school dropouts are consistently over 10 percent

3.  College

  •  A high school diploma or an equivalent, i.e., a GED, is required to attend college. Increasingly, a college degree is needed to get an entry-level job. This trend is expected to continue as the economy increasingly focuses on knowledge-based work and the number of jobs that only require manual labor declines.

Your educational accomplishments that we celebrate today mean a great deal and I know are not always easy or fun to come by.

Last night I was at Burlington High School awards event with my about-to-graduate daughter.  I was struck by something the teacher said when presenting the drama awards.  The teacher pointed out how much time it takes to be in a play. There’s learning the lines, and rehearsals, in addition to regular school work.

Time it takes to be in a play and be a student.  WOW!  Yes, it does take time to be in a play, but it made me think about you all and how much time it takes to be a student when you have a child or children, or are pregnant.  This is in addition to the other responsibilities and requirements make your lives busy and hectic. It isn’t easy being a parent or pregnant and to be a student. These accomplishments mean even more because you have persevered and hung in there, despite the many challenges and demands that you contend with every day.  But you have hung in there, worked hard and have much to be proud of.

Photo by Cat Cutillo

Some advice:

Don’t settle

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
–Steve Jobs

“As for the future, your task is not to foresee it but to enable it.”

–Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French Aviator and Writer

I could not be prouder to be part of Lund at this moment.

And, last I want to thank everyone at Lund, both our staff and volunteers, for what you do to make Lund the special place it is- first to Stephanie and Ben- our teachers who work so hard to make our school the special place it is.  Also, thanks to each of you who helped make today possible for our honorees and graduates; our child care staff, case managers, reach- up workers, clinicians, transporters, counselors, our food service staff, our support staff and everyone in our business office, our development staff, our volunteers and interns, and last but not least our dedicated board of trustees.


  1. Faye MacFarlane said,

    Was there any pictures of the Kit Stone Award?

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