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Graduation shows hope for next generation

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.John Brewington, sports editor, South County Spotlight

I graduated more than 40 years ago. June 11 marked 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 smartphone 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 via e-mail. It makes communication faster. I used to spend a lot of time trying to get hold 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 Tracy 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 hold 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 (Scappoose High athlete) 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 in something to fill 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.