For me, one of the best, but maybe lesser known benefits of being Sheriff, is having opportunities throughout the year to participate in activities with area students. Whether it’s through our SAFE seatbelt program, talking about the dangers of drugs and social media, or just going to the games and competitions, it’s an honor to get to know so many Cherokee County high school students. That’s what makes this time of year so exciting!

Our high school seniors have finally achieved a goal they have been working towards for many years. In fact, as someone said earlier this week, it’s probably hard for most of them to remember a time when they weren’t in school.

Having had the pleasure of getting to know and interact with them, I can say without hesitation how proud I am, not just for their academic achievements (and there are some really really smart kids coming out of Cherokee County schools), but also for the people - the young adults – they have become.

Certainly there are always a small number who may dominate the chatter about how disrespectful kids are and how the future is doomed. But that’s not my experience. Most of the students I know graduating this month are not only smart, but compassionate, civic minded and determined to make a difference in the world. Big or small, they want to make a positive difference and because of the strong character they have developed while growing up, I don’t doubt they will succeed.

They say it takes a village. And whether or not you have a child, grandchild, niece or nephew graduating this year, you should be proud. The Village of Cherokee County is doing a good job of raising young adults with values, ethics, respect and integrity.

Please join me in congratulating the graduates and encourage them to remember as they go on to the next chapter of their lives, to do their best in representing themselves, their families and their communities with pride and distinction.

God Bless and Congratulations Class of 2017!