Tonight is graduation for seniors who have taken 4 or 5 years to complete the demands of the school board to walk proudly across the stage and receive that magical paper. The paper declaring them as high school graduates, The paper needed for jobs but usually ends up packed away after you get your first post high school job.
Many students struggle in this village to complete high school due to seeing no real value in one. The job market is very limited out here and for many, you don't need a high school diploma.
If you want to work, you need college credits to work at the school as a paraprofessional. For certain jobs associated with the tribal or city government you do need more than a high school diploma but for most of the jobs there or at the stores or construction you can usually get hired without a diploma.
Since they don't see any value in education, many students lack the motivation to try, so they don't finish. Their dropping out is a gradual process where they don't bother working so they fail. They repeat the same classes and fail again. By the time they are juniors they are behind enough they will not graduate on time. Others just slowly quit attending until they are officially dropped from the rolls.
The ones who make it through high school to finally graduate fall into two categories. There is a small percentage to leave the following fall to attend college but very few of those ever finish their degrees. Most last a year before returning because they lack self motivation or lacked the understanding of how colleges work.
The other group decide they can put off advancing their education or decide they aren't interested in doing much more than remaining home, helping out there, and playing basketball a few times a week. A few do go on for training but the majority never leave, never try to advance their educations, and never even think in terms of their futures.
I'll go to graduation tonight, take pictures, congratulate everyone, and wish those going off to college the best of luck. I already know that 3/4ths of those who head off, will return by the end of the school year.
I'll take pictures and post them on Monday so you can see the decorated gym and get a glimpse of life out here. Have a good weekend.