The anticipation has been growing and today is the day. The whole family has set aside schedules and obligations to be here for this moment in time, Graduation Day. Family has traveled from miles around; houses are full, hotels booked, and celebration dinners at local restaurants organized. Now to focus on the moment what everyone has rushed to see, that loved one walking across the stage. A name is called, your child, brother/sister, grandson/granddaughter, cousin, niece/nephew, name being called to be awarded a diploma for 13+ years of education and success. Applause and cheers of excitement fill the air as they call that awaited name and then before you realize it, the ceremony has ended and the celebration has began.
Graduation is not only a family celebration though; it is a community one as well. In a rural county such as Scott, most of us know many of the 200+ graduates each year. We have watched them grow and learn. We have celebrated their successes and supported them in their struggles. One aspect that we may never think about though, is the role of the local businesses on graduation day. For to them, it is a success they can truly celebrate. Why? Our local businesses actually may be one of the largest financial investors in our students outside of their families. Local businesses are the spine of community backbone in the contribution. Not only do they pay property taxes, but they bring in sales tax. Tax, that designates Scott County’s portion to one half going to our local school systems first. That is taxes that are created by the sales of the business generated to go into education of all Scott County children. Even if a child is home schooled or in private school, they still benefit because the other half of those tax dollars are placed to fund emergency personnel and services, libraries, and needed governmental services, all tools that every citizen of Scott County or visitors can benefit from having in place. Yet, local businesses already generating one of the largest financial contributions to education don’t stop there. They are also are the first ones to fund those extra programs at school. Scholarships to teachers, field trips, school supplies, equipment, computers and sports team advertising. When asked, our local businesses come to plate again and again with needed funding to provide opportunities to the 2015 graduating students walking across that stage. That is an investment you as a parent/guardian can be proud of, because it is you that support those local businesses by choosing to shop inside Scott County for needed items. Each dollar you spend truly does have a way of investing back in your family. As a Chamber of Commerce, this is another reason why we work so hard to encourage you to shop at home. In doing so, you are using your money to not only buy products you need locally, but you are further investing in not only your child, but the betterment of a continually generation of a workforce that is ready to attract even more companies to the best county in the state.
So, as you are desperately seeking that creatively decorated cap of your loved one and proudly cheering as you hear their name called to walk across that stage of success, know that your local businesses are cheering with you also. It truly is a community celebration, because we as a community, a team, have all invested to see this day for your loved one.