Keep graduation projects in interest of better citizenship
High school graduation projects, which most often introduce juniors and seniors to community service, are good for schools, good for the community and, most of all, good for students. So, naturally, the state plans to eliminate those projects as a graduation requirement, beginning with the 2017 graduating class.
Community service opens many students' eyes to the community surrounding them in ways they otherwise might not see, and through direct, hands-on contact that isn't possible in the classroom alone.
Many students are very busy these days, tied up with sports and other extracurricular activities. But the graduation projects ensure that they also are tied up with the broader community.
Although some projects fall short on effectiveness, most are not make-work or college-application padders. Students raise money to help charities, provide invaluable hours to service organizations that help the needy and relieve governments of some of their service burden, clean and improve public parks, improve their own schools and the like. Creative students often meld projects with their own interests, taking what they learn in school into the community. And some of these projects continue as annual occurrences.
Because of such projects, community service has become a standard ethic for millions of young Americans.
Though the state plans to end graduation projects as a requirement, individual school districts will be free to maintain the requirement. We hope local school districts do so. It's part of creating citizens rather than simply high school graduates.