Success of Malheur County students gives hope where worry is all too dominating

Anytime you start getting too anxious about the future, think about what local students are achieving. High schools from one end to the other of Malheur County are churning out success stories. They are a counterpoint to worries about where the country, even the state, is headed.

Next week, for example, a team of Vale High School students will climb onto the international stage. Porter McKrola, Jonas Grout, Jacob Maxwell, and Briggs Marvin are taking their ability with robotics to Kentucky for the VEX Robotics World Championship. Imagine that. Local high school students so talented at what they do that they are going up against the best the rest of the globe has to offer. No matter how they fare, they certainly go with the best wishes and hopes of the community.

And then there is Sundee Speelmon, a senior at Adrian High School. She recently was elected to a state office for Oregon FFA, the first from Adrian in two decades to do so. That’s testimony to her dedication to FFA and all that it stands for. Remarkably, Sundee is postponing her college career by a year to fulfill her duty. That sort of selfless act, we hope, sets the stage for her for even greater public service down the road in other elective offices.

But she wasn’t alone in representing the community well at the state FFA session. Ernan (Nano) De Santiago of Harper High School became the first from his school to be elected to an FFA district office. Valerie Rodriguez of Ontario High School and Dylan Marshall of Vale High School brought home first-place finishes in state competition. A busload of other high school students from Malheur County brought home honors and awards.

And close on the heels of FFA was the state competition by the Future Business Leaders of America. We’ll be reporting in next week’s Enterprise about that, but just know that Malheur County had even more champions.

All these accomplishments, plus many others by students in other organizations, show what determined students, supportive parents and attentive educators can achieve. These honors, awards and titles signal that these students take seriously their duty to serve their schools and their community. Anyone who has attended an FFA event, for instance, has seen the determined faces and poised manner of these young people.

Let’s hope these high school students don’t lose their willingness to serve. Local governments, from city councils to school boards, and nonprofit organizations could all one day benefit from their service. We hope nothing along the way discourages that ambition. — LZ