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Graduation shows hope for next generation

Kids have grown up with technology and know how to use it


High school graduation time always gives me hope for the upcoming generation. Television news always leads off with bad news. Sometimes it’s so awful, I can barely stand to watch.

What’s that they say, “if it bleeds, it leads?”

It’s a sad commentary on society.

Still, when I see the fresh faces of young adults graduating I always have hope for the future.

It’s probably hard to believe, but I was once one of those kids. Well, not so much in high school, but college went well.by: SELF-PORTRAIT - Sports Editor John Brewington

I graduated over 40 years ago. June 11 marks my 40th anniversary of coming to Columbia County to work for The Chronicle. Time really does fly.

I wasn’t much older than the kids graduating from high school in those days. I later played softball, or golf, or rafted... or hoisted a few libations with a lot of them. Many are still good friends, and there’s a whole host of others that I see on occasion.

The times have changed. There’s no war going on. Well, that’s not true. But other things have changed. Technology seems to have taken over. I even have a smart phone now.

The newspaper business has come a long way—I’m really glad not to be using manual typewriters for instance. We thought getting electric typewriters was a big deal. These days we lay out pages on our desktop computers. We hardly ever ran color—it was a long process to get a picture prepared. The negative had to be a positive (slide) and four plates had to be made. It was also very costly—somewhere between $500 and $1,000.

I loved my old Nikon film camera with the motor drive, but not as much as I like the new digital photography. It’s just so much easier and I don’t have to dip my hands in chemicals every day.

Those things have all made the newspaper business easier, and the Internet makes fact checking very quick. A lot of what we do is now done via e-mail. It makes communication faster. I used to spend a lot of time trying to get ahold of people, but not so much now.

While I’ve adapted slowly to the burgeoning technology, the younger generation seems to have taken to it in spades. It’s created new problems. Who would have ever thought talking on the phone in your car would be illegal (or affordable). A few had radio phones back in the day, but that was it. Texting? What’s texting?

Taking pictures with your phone? Well, Dick Tracey had a wrist camera. The concept wasn’t unbelievable even when I was a kid. Now everybody shoots pictures with their camera, and even takes videos.

Today’s graduates have grown up using the new technology and it comes second nature to them. They communicate more through texting and social networks than they do in person (it seems sometimes). They don’t really even talk on their phones that much. If you want to get ahold of one of them, send them a text. That usually gets a prompt response.

Still for all the “advancement,” kids are still kids and they still need support.

Talking with Paul Revis this week, I learned that he and four of his buddies will be attending college together. I think that’s marvelous. They’re all good kids and it gives them a support network away from home. It’s particularly good for the first year until they get used to being on their own. It’s also more fun.

It worked well for my daughter the first year, and then some of her roommates changed colleges. She has always been very self-reliant and was able to deal with being more on her own the second year.

There are lots of good kids here locally headed off to college, other studies, or the workplace. They’ll mostly find a way to make it in the world. Many will have the support of parents, grandparents, and friends. They’ll make new friends and find new loves. It’s the way of life.

Some will sail to extraordinary heights. Some won’t but most will find a way to succeed. There was a lot of success in my class of nearly 50 years ago, my daughter and her friends’ class has been impressive, and I’m sure the Scappoose and St. Helens classes of 2013 will do much the same.

You probably won’t hear about the vast majority of them on TV either. Sometimes another saying is mostly true: “No news is good news.”

It’s not true in my line of work. You have to put something in to fill up the pages. But I’ve always liked to show the success kids have rather than the mistakes they sometimes make.

The recent grads are going to be alright.