Education is a Lifelong Journey, Especially Now

by Mila Besich, Mayor, Town of Superior

As COVID-19 swept across our nation and the world impacting billions of lives, one thing immediately became apparent: everyone, regardless of where they live or their age or station in life, was going to be challenged to push themselves to learn something new.

For many, the stay-at-home orders allowed them to focus on honing their cooking and gardening skills. Everyone had no choice but to learn new technologies, even someone like myself, who wasn’t a fan of FaceTime or Zoom, has learned to get used to this new way of communicating and connecting.

For many parents, dining-room tables became classrooms, kitchens became science labs and backyards morphed into playgrounds. Everyone has had to learn new skills and refine habits like time management and self-discipline as our lives changed.

Now more than ever before, we need to take time to celebrate and appreciate our education professionals, the administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals and classified staff. Their jobs left the classrooms and went into new territory; they were teaching from their homes students who were sheltered in their own abodes. As always, our children — from kindergarteners to college students — adapted and adjusted, and this agility is the key to their success in learning and in life.

The American education system comes with many milestones and life-affirming moments — graduations, assemblies and rites of passages like prom and class trips. In Superior, adults, children and youth alike adapted and adjusted, and we did our best to honor our community traditions. While graduation was not the same this year, missing hugs and big open-house celebrations, the community gathered for a parade. The private graduation ceremony was memorable and inspiring. Awards, scholarships and laptops were distributed, and residents of Superior decorated their homes to honor our graduates.

Like all of us, our young people will look back on this pandemic and realize that these difficult and challenging times will indelibly influence who they will become as adults. This pandemic has forced everyone to consider new skills and challenge ourselves. That is what education is, an opportunity to add to your knowledge and skill base. It is an opportunity to learn and grow that never ends.

The way we live our lives will never be the same, and that may not be the worst thing. This is an opportunity to reimagine, reinvent and grow even more. Who knows? The next greatest invention may come out of your own home or family.