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Last week’s championship performance by the Mineola High School Sound of the Swarm marching band at the state contest exemplifies what we know about the youth of today.

This old world will be in good hands if we will just provide them the tools, information and guidance they need and want; avoid all the negative influence that they don’t need and isn’t helpful; and then get the heck out of their way.

We have followed band contests for a couple decades now and are always impressed. To have a group that large come together for an inspiring performance, you just can’t beat it. I’m amazed that anyone can march and play music at the same time, much less make it look like that.

But this is not just to single out the Mineola group, which has risen to the top level of competition.

Young folks impress in many ways. We were equally pleased to see the Quitman band rise to the top performance level this year and look for more good things from them.

And the Mineola girls cross country team made it all the way to the state meet. You won’t even see me up at the hour those girls rise to go out and run. Wake up, and run. Two things not on my list.

And it’s true across the board. Look at what is being accomplished in football and volleyball. Take a peek at the burgeoning world of career and technical education.

There are some amazing programs and students accomplishing great things.

A young lady in the welding program at our last stop actually had a successful business by the time she graduated. You should see her creations.

I’m just glad the state finally figured out that everyone in high school does not want or need to go to college. A good living can be made in several service industries. Somebody’s got to be able to repair the car or the plumbing when it inevitably breaks. Vehicle mechanics have to know more than wrenches. Computer knowledge is a must.

Technicians in all fields need to be well-trained and deserve to be well-compensated.

Before CTE was the buzzword of the day, ag programs filled in the gap that was left after state education reforms forced perhaps too much focus on college readiness.

For years the most impressive banquet every year was the one run by the FFA students. Sharp, efficient, and over in a reasonable time – always a bonus.

Those students learn everything from animal science to horticulture to welding and communications. I have seen ag mechanics projects so innovative that the developers were seeking a patent. We’re talking about high school students. To be clear, most of those kids are college material.

Some of the things young people are accomplishing today were not even possible in my day, like robotics. Clearly the world has changed, and communities have learned that it’s time to step up and provide facilities and programs that will ensure our own future will be brighter by providing opportunities to the coming generations.

From what I saw in the photos from the band contest at the Alamodome, it’s already a pretty bright future.

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