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Editorial: New graduates can find inspiration close to home

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Over the next couple of weeks, students across Johnson County will be graduating from high school. It’s a time to celebrate and measure success.

They will hear from commencement speakers congratulating them and encouraging them. While their remarks will be heartfelt, graduates might take further inspiration from some unique sources among the various graduating classes.

Take the Service family in Franklin, for instance. Chris Service will be graduating from Franklin Community High School, while his brother, Nick, just graduated from Franklin College.

But in addition, their father, Rick Service, has just completed an associate’s degree at Ivy Tech Community College at age 49.

Service and his wife, Pam, always told their children to get good grades and go to college in order to have the best chance at supporting themselves and their families. And two years ago, Rick Service decided to take his own advice.

He was inspired to return to school after seeing the president in 2011 single out a 55-year-old woman who had gone back to college to learn how to work with computers.

He wasn’t having a problem providing for himself or his family, but now with an associate’s degree he feels more employable as he now knows how to use computers and soon will have a business administration certificate.

Here’s another example. Naomi Reardon, 48, also just graduated from Ivy Tech. Her daughter, Jodi Reardon, also just graduated from IUPUI.

Naomi Reardon spent a year at Indiana State University as a teenager but went no further. “But I always dreamed of going back,” she said.

Jodi Reardon said, “My mom would say, ‘You have to go to college or you don’t have a choice in life.’”

Naomi Reardon took her own advice, too, and now plans to go on and earn a bachelor’s degree.

These special graduates offer good examples of perseverance. They see the value in education, and they demonstrated it in their return to the classroom, even decades later.

Those are lessons we all can learn from.

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