Speaking to the top seniors from the community’s four high schools, State Rep. Julie VanOrden, R-Blackfoot, pointed out the importance of parents in student success.
On Wednesday, VanOrden used Amanda Ripley’s “The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way” during a keynote address for the Greater Blackfoot Chamber of Commerce’s recognition luncheon for the students.
“Around the world parents have a dramatic influence on what happen’s in their children’s schools,” VanOrden quoted.
She added, “kids should be uncomfortable sometimes” while they’re learning.
“Rigorous learning should look rigorous,” she said. “And there should be a sense of urgency you can feel.”
Using Compass Academy in Idaho Falls as an example, she said engaged students don’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 Idaho’s education needs indicates that 60 percent of the state’s jobs will require some sort of post-secondary credential by 2018. That includes certificates of training as well as diplomas and the like.
“Forty-one percent of Idahoans have that now,” 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.
“The bottom line is Idaho will need more educated workers,” VanOrden said.
Before joining Chamber president Vern Murray in honoring the top seniors, Mayor Paul Loomis told them, “it really does not matter what degree you go after as long as it is in science, technology, engineering or technology.”
Many of the seniors indicated they plan to prepare for careers in those fields as they continue their educational journeys.