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Good luck and best wishes to our Lincoln High graduates

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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KNOW AND GO: What: Lincoln High School graduation When: 7 p.m. Friday Where: Lincoln High School football stadium, 790 J St. Admission: Tickets required this year from graduating seniors. Information: 645-6360 Good luck and best wishes to our Lincoln High graduates As I write this column Saturday, it's below 55 degrees outside. And it's raining heavily, enough to keep my new spring flowers watered for the next several days to come. The week leading up to June is a time when it's usually shorts, tank tops and flip flops weather in Lincoln. It's not the type of weather we assume for this time of year. It's downright strange. Then there was Judgment Day on May 21. Led by California radio evangelist Harold Camping, thousands of followers throughout the country believed the world would end at 6 p.m. two Saturdays ago by a powerful earthquake. Believers, however, would be received at heaven’s gates. Judgment Day is fortunately gone, without the anticipated monumental worldwide earthquake. The so-called rapture was scary, especially considering many intelligent followers were positive that it would happen. The rapture movement is also puzzling. Closer to home, an effort to recall three Lincoln City Council candidates is now in the works. Recall organizers say that the three incumbents are responsible for spending more money than the city has and "it’s time to give the three councilmen layoff notices like they allowed the city manager to give to four police officers.” How the once fastest-growing city in the country, according to Forbes Magazine in 2007, is now fighting to keep from going bankrupt was never considered a mere four years ago. The recall possibility is also challenging. Yet we continue our everyday lives, in the midst of potentially significant changes. It's also a challenging time to leave the safety of childhood. Most students have parents who make sure they're safe day and night. But 333 Lincoln High School seniors will exchange that very safety net Friday as they receive their diplomas and assume the responsibilities of being adults. It's harder today to be independent. That's because today's seniors are entering a work force with double-digit unemployment rates. As of April, Lincoln’s unemployment rate is 19.4 percent, Placer County’s is 10.9 percent and the state’s is 11.7 percent, according to Diane Patterson, from the state’s Employment Development Department. It’s tougher these days to compete for jobs, especially ones with good futures, when recent graduates vie for the same positions with older, experienced workers who have been downsized or whose companies have closed. So I was glad to hear that 74 percent of Lincoln High's new graduates have chosen more schooling as their next immediate course of action. Twenty percent will attend a four-year college, 50 percent will attend a community college, and four percent will attend a technical/trade school, according to Lincoln High School counselor Jim Spratling. Today’s students need an advantage. “The best thing they can do at this point is to do things that make them different from other people,” said Lincoln resident Reid Barney. “If they’re going to go to college, they need to be 100 percent dedicated in succeeding in whatever they do. That has to be their focus. It’s extremely competitive out there.” Barney, a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), previously was an HR director at a professional employer organization and is now facilities manager for Ace Hardware Distribution Center in Rocklin. “If they’re going to make it out there, they have to show an employer that they’re going to be the best employee they can be. Employers are looking for people who will not only do a job but get better quickly as time goes by. Everyone is looking for value,” Barney said. “What makes an employee valuable? It’s someone who will be there everyday, do a good job, work without being supervised, be successful and, at the end of the day, ask the boss, ‘What else can I do? What can I do better?’ Either way, it’s going to be at a university or at the school of life. Either way, you have to be teachable.” More education is key, especially in this dismal economy that won’t be improving in the near future. With 74 percent of Lincoln soon-to-be graduates continuing formal schooling, I’m optimist our students will find satisfying jobs in the years to come. Congratulations, Class of 2011.