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Speaking to the top seniors from the communityâ€™s four high schools, State Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Blackfoot, pointed out the importance of parents in student success.
On Wednesday, VanOrden used Amanda Ripleyâ€™s â€śThe Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Wayâ€ť during a keynote address for the Greater Blackfoot Chamber of Commerceâ€™s recognition luncheon for the students.
â€śAround the world parents have a dramatic influence on what happenâ€™s in their childrenâ€™s schools,â€ť VanOrden quoted.
She added, â€śkids should be uncomfortable sometimesâ€ť while theyâ€™re learning.
â€śRigorous learning should look rigorous,â€ť she said. â€śAnd there should be a sense of urgency you can feel.â€ť
Using Compass Academy in Idaho Falls as an example, she said engaged students donâ€™t notice when visitors come to their classrooms. The students there were too busy collaborating with one another and their teachers to notice.
VanOrden noted that a recent study of Idahoâ€™s education needs indicates that 60 percent of the stateâ€™s jobs will require some sort of post-secondary credential by 2018. That includes certificates of training as well as diplomas and the like.
â€śForty-one percent of Idahoans have that now,â€ť VanOrden said.
She noted that the greatest demand will be in computer science, computer technology, health sciences, communications and business economics.
Among the skills workers will need, she said, are an ability to perform will integrity, an ability to contribute to a team, an ability to communicate effectively and the ability to develop knowledge.
â€śThe bottom line is Idaho will need more educated workers,â€ť VanOrden said.
Before joining Chamber president Vern Murray in honoring the top seniors, Mayor Paul Loomis told them, â€śit really does not matter what degree you go after as long as it is in science, technology, engineering or technology.â€ť
Many of the seniors indicated they plan to prepare for careers in those fields as they continue their educational journeys.