Education crosses boundaries of race, gender and religion

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, July 25, 2013

I feel a little like I did about 12 years ago.

Tomorrow, I will walk across the stage again at Troy University to accept my diploma, a symbol of my Master of Strategic Communications degree. And one of my former broadcast journalism classmates from all those years ago will accept his diploma right in front of me. Except, at this graduation, he and I will share the same last name.

Aaron and I have learned a lot about each other over the years. We were friends for about 13 years before he asked me out. Now we are married, and there is still much to learn – but the one thing we know is that we are stronger together than apart. And that’s knowledge worth recognizing.

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Another difference this time around is the third Taylor that will make the journey across the stage with us. Our little Trojan (we can’t wait to find out if we’re having a boy or a girl) will be starting off right, knowing that education is important and that continuing education is not only possible, but beneficial.

In 2012, the unemployment rate in the United States for people who didn’t graduate from high school was 12.4 percent. For high school graduates, the number was 8.3 percent. Associate’s degrees lowered to 6.2 percent, Bachelor’s 4.5 percent, Master’s degrees 3.5 percent and Doctoral degrees 2.5 percent. Those numbers are according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Bureau also reported that in 2012, the median weekly earnings for people who didn’t graduate high school was $471, for people who had an Associate’s degree it was $785, for people with a Bachelor’s degree it was $1,066, a Master’s degree $1,300 and a Doctoral degree $1,624.

Education is increasingly important in our lives and how well we are able to live as adults. It affects our relationships, our ability to reason, our health and how well we provide for our loved ones.

As children start back to school next month, let’s encourage them and show them how beneficial education is to our everyday lives, and to their future successes.

We, as adults, should be positive role models to make certain that children understand they have the power to be and do just about anything – through education.

Education opens up worlds and opportunities, regardless of race, religion and gender.

It’s something Aaron and I plan to teach baby Taylor, and it’s something that should be taught to all children.