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CELEBRATE SAFELY, GRADUATES

The issue of education has dominated headlines and public debate in Utah for the past year. Everyone involved has questioned what they, and the other players, can do to enhance education in the state.

What more can teachers do? How can legislators help? School administrators? And what about parents, what more can they do?As schools wind down for this academic year and seniors pick up their diplomas, there is one more thing that everyone concerned can do. We can help keep them alive.

We've invested a lot of years and resources in preparing our graduates for life. The one additional thing we need to do is help preserve that life.

Graduation has traditionally been a time for celebration, with seniors heading out for all-night parties where fun is too often laced with alcohol and drugs. There are a few graduates who never get to use their education, their lives cut off in post-party accidents or altered by crippling injuries.

As an alternative, some school districts, aided by parent organizations, law enforcement agencies, and businesses in the community, are holding their own all-night parties. The difference is these are supervised and there is no drug or alcohol use allowed.

Those involved in this effort to offer graduates a safe yet enjoyable way to celebrate their passage into adulthood are to be commended. Graduating seniors should be encouraged to choose this alternative rather than heading into the foothills and canyons for keg parties.

As commencement speakers so fondly point out, graduation should be a new beginning, not a tragic end.