I can remember the times after the Christmas holiday ended when I said to myself, “I cannot believe it is time to go back to school.” I dreaded going back to school after the holidays. I dreaded going back to school because I did not want to do any work. At that age, I did not understand the importance of having a willing mind and attitude to learn.

I am sure many of our youth are feeling the same way. I want to encourage all of our parish’s youth not to dread going back to school but instead to embrace it.

As youth, many times, we fail to maximize opportunities because of our lack of willingness and our apathetic attitude. It is easy to fall victim to the trap of being lazy and not wanting to learn.

I heard a quote a long time ago that changed my perception of school. The quote simply says “knowledge is power.”

In other words, the more you know, the more power you hold.

I know many of you aspire to be wealthy one day. Many of you desire to be owners of mansions and nice cars, but the key to attaining your dreams is through education. The key to becoming those great people you dream of is through a positive attitude.

I really want to encourage each of you to take a proactive approach during this semester of school.

I know there will be times when you do not feel like going to school.

There will be times when you do not feel like studying.

There will be times when you do not feel like participating in class.

I guarantee that if you push past those feelings of apathy and commit to being great in school and maximizing your educational experience, you will go farther in life than you can fathom.

We are all excited about the new year.

Young people, don’t let this excitement stop. Build on this excitement and become excited about receiving a rewarding education in 2015.

Let’s become excited about attaining our goals and dreams.

I have high hopes for you. Your parents have high hopes for you. Your teachers, pastors and community have hopes for each of you.

We are all counting on you to do great things the remainder of this school year. The key to doing those great things is your commitment to being excellent.

Embrace the remainder of this school year. Embrace the challenging projects and tests and the task of encouraging your classmates to be better, to study harder and to be better all-around young adults.

There’s a big world out there waiting for your intellect, talent and charisma. Do not sell yourselves short by being lazy and not taking advantage of your education. It is your season to be great.

Remember: What you do now will determine what you are doing 20 years from now.

Let’s make it happen. I believe in you guys. St. Helena believes in you.

Let’s be great in 2015, not average.

Contact Jasper Knighten at jasperknighten@yahoo.com.