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Graduates poised to take on demands of a new, ever-changing world

In the coming weeks, the graduating high school classes of 2017 will walk across the field, or the stage, and collect their diplomas.

They will hug their friends, their classmates and toss their caps into the air, signifying the end of their high school career.

For some, the next step on their path is college, technical school, the military or the workforce.

They will step out with all of the confidence in the world, destined to change the world. And, based on the world these days, we wouldn’t mind if they did.

But, for these 17 and 18-year-olds, the step off the field or off the stage is simply their first step into a world that is far different, far more challenging than the world their parents, and their grandparents walked out into.

While the world is a must faster and more technologically advanced place, it is also a world that is far less predictable.

Keep in mind, for the class of 2017, they were 2-years-old or younger when the horrific events of 9/11 took place. They do not know a world where terrorism is simply an idea or something that happens far away.

They do not know a world where our country is not at war against terrorism, where men and women that they are now the age of, have been killed in the fight against terror and in defense of our country.

They do know a world where groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda were not the topics around the dinner table.

In spite of these challenges, and in the face of so much worry, this class has far more potential than the generation before them.

The advancements in technology, wellness and education in their lifetime far outpace the pace at which their parents experienced.

This class has only known a world where information is available at the drop of a hat through their phone or their watch.

This class has only known a world where a rover, launched by the United States, continues to explore Mars. And, this class is likely to experience a world where an astronaut may one day walk on Mars.

This class has only known a world where diseases like AIDS and many forms of cancer are no longer a death sentence.

Is the world today a unique and often times challenging landscape? Yes.

But, this is a class that they themselves appear ready to meet the demands before them.