The Salute to Labor scholarship went to Maile Sapp, a senior who graduated from Beekmantown Central High School this year and will be attending Harvard University in the fall.
Sapp’s mother, Andree Sapp, is a member of New York State United Teachers through the Beekmantown Teachers Association.
“They (unions) are truly the backbone to ensure that our natural human rights are guaranteed,” Maile said as she accepted her scholarship award.
Keynote speaker Congressman Bill Owens (D-Plattsburgh) discussed the education system in the United States.
He referenced a conversation he had with a provost of a university, who told him the worst thing to happen to the education system was Sputnik, the first satellite that was launched into space by the former Soviet Union.
“‘People stopped being tinkerers,’” Owens said the provost told him.
“Everyone wanted to go to college instead of finding a path that was best suited to them and best suited to the economy,” the congressman said. “And that’s really something we need to alter our thinking about.”
‘JUST TAKE A JOB’
Owens said he thinks Americans’ views of education are headed in the wrong direction.
“How do we educate young people to fill the jobs we have? Not the job, necessarily, that we want, but the jobs that we have.”
At every commencement ceremony Owens has attended, graduates were told by speakers to find a job they loved, he said.
But that’s not necessarily the most practical or the wisest choice, the congressman said.
“Find where there’s a job, and go do that. Then find an avocation that satisfies you.
“You need to do those things to make yourself a whole person, but you first need to figure out what the available jobs are.”
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