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It’s Time To Invest In Our Graduates: Part 4

College & Career Readiness | 05/12/2016

Amber England
Oklahoma Executive Director

Amber England is the Executive Director of Stand for Children Oklahoma.

(Continuing with our series on why we are supporting State Question 779 this is part four. You can read part one here, part two here, and part three here.)

 

When my grandfather passed away, my dad wanted to do something special to honor his memory. He started a scholarship for Fox High School students. Fox was the town where my grandfather was instrumental in starting up the town’s first ever little league program for young aspiring athletes.

The AC England Memorial Scholarship is given to a deserving student athlete, who’s proven through hard work on the field and in the classroom, that they are serious about continuing their education beyond high school.

Getting to hand out the scholarship with my sisters as my dad proudly watches from the audience is one of my favorite things to do each year. By no means is he a wealthy guy, but he believes in the power of education because he’s seen firsthand all three of his daughters complete a college education. He knows the career he’s been able to have as a factory worker with no formal training beyond high school simply isn’t the way most kids are going to be able to make it in today’s economy.

Graduating from high school is one of the biggest transitions in the lives of students. After spending years in the classroom, a few hours with a cap and gown and they are sent off to a brand new stage in life.

For some, the next stage is a college or career tech education, a ticket to a better life. But more and more, that dream of a brighter future is out of reach. And that’s just wrong.

Not only is it bad for families, but it’s also bad for Oklahoma’s economy. In fact, a study just released this week shows that most jobs today require some type of formal training beyond high school. I’m so thankful my dad created the AC England Memorial Scholarship so that our family can shoulder a little bit of the cost of allowing a student from my dad’s hometown to chase their dreams.

It’s also why I'm supporting State Question 779 -- it will expand career training programs. Oklahoma students can outwork anyone in the nation, we just need to give them the training and education they need.

SQ 779 will also restore some of the funding cuts to colleges and universities so they don’t have to raise tuition, making higher education affordable again for Oklahoma families. I think every hard-working parent should get the opportunity to see their student walk across a graduation stage with their post-secondary degree in hand.

This fall I’m voting YES on State Question 779 for students like the ones I meet at Fox High School each year who dream of continuing their education beyond high school so they can lead successful lives with good paying jobs.

Our state should give all students a fair chance and an opportunity to make the most of their lives and fulfill their God-given potential. With the passage of State Question 779, we are doing just that.

Will you join me in pledging to vote Yes on 779 today?

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