This is the time of year the lives of so many young people will change, hopefully for the better.
Hundreds of students will cross over a stage, shake hands with a dignitary awarding them with a diploma or certificate for their hard work, then begin a new chapter in their lives.
Last month, Dalhousie Agricultural Campus held its convocation with more than 200 students graduating.
This past week another 300 students earned their diplomas from the Nova Scotia Community College.
We are very fortunate to have both a university and college of such high caliber in our area, welcoming locals and newcomers alike.
New beginnings will continue on June 27 as hundreds of students will say farewell to their high schools to take on new challenges, new education and new work opportunities, both at home and abroad.
Many will tell you youth are the lifeblood of any community. Their presence here makes us stronger, shows us the world through their eyes, often seeing opportunities for community or economic development we may have overlooked with our “mature” vision.
They invigorate the community with their volunteerism, assisting organizations to carry out their work, as well as establishing their own paths to help others.
As a community, we must support them and do everything we can to retain our youth, from offering services to help them further their education, to ensuring there are good job opportunities for them to succeed in life.
Recent startling job losses in neighbouring Pictou County at Convergys (300 positions) and Michelin (500 positions) have left communities reeling, predicting significant long-term impacts on the economy.
It is difficult to replace a significant number of jobs quickly and a lasting impact from that loss will reverberate in the area for years to come.
This serves as a reminder to us of the critical importance to seek out new business opportunities and find new ways to work with our young people to encourage them to stay here long after their formal education is completed.