For the last few days, there has been a certain composition rolling around in my head – 'Pomp and Circumstance."

Yep, you guessed it, it is that time of the year when high school seniors take that walk across the stage, receive their diplomas and start a new chapter in their lives.
Some will go onto to college to further their education, while others will start a career or even a family.

To all of those soon to be high school graduates, congratulations.

For a number of years, I have reflected on my high school graduation for this column. As I was writing this week’s column, I came across some of the advice that I would like to forward onto you.

• Remember, that diploma is more than just a sheet of paper.

For some, it will help them get into college for others, a job, but remember, YOU earned that diploma. No one else could have done it for you.

• Never surrender.

That phrase has been my philosophy for a number of years and it sparked because of my family, teachers and friends telling me to never give up. I will give you an example. When I was a student at Triway Elementary School, I had a problem with reading comprehension. I would read a book and within a couple of minutes, could not remember what I had read. So with the dedication of Susan Prock and Diane Cole, special education teachers at Triway in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, I worked and worked to get back up to standards. Also, on the home front, I came home and immediately jumped into doing homework. There was one time that really sticks out in my mind. After dinner, I had a bunch of homework still to do, but I also wanted to watch TV. Mom and dad sent me to their room, closed the door and helped me on my homework. Every few minutes, they would test my reading comprehension skills. With their help, the teachers help and my determination, I was back up to speed. You see, I could have given up, but I didn’t. Mom and dad, thanks for always being pushing me and having faith in me. For my teachers, thanks as well.

• Never surrender looking for a job.

After graduating from college, I headed to the career world. There were jobs that I knew I could do, but some employers looked at my resume and told me that I had too much experience or some said that I had too little experience. With determination, I landed a couple of jobs in my time, including where I am now: being a reporter with the Neosho Daily News.

So to the seniors, remember to never surrender, keep striving to do your best in life and always remember that family, friends and teachers are always behind you.
For the parents and other family members, if you can, attend the fellow graduates, congratulate them and see them smile when they get their diplomas.

Todd G. Higdon is a staff writer and writes a weekly column for the Neosho Daily News. He can be reached at Follow him on twitter at  @toddghigdonNDN