Volusia County School Board Chairman Stan Schmidt gives New Smyrna Beach High grads A-plus; more budget cuts coming

Stan SchmidtNSBNews.net video by Sera Frederick / Volusia County School Board Chairman Stan Schmidt addressed the New Smyrna Beach Class of 2011 at Saturday's commencement at the Ocean Center. He was interviwed on camera after the graduation on stage by NSBNews.net on a number of issues, including his impressions of the graduation, the school district's finances and dealing with budget shortfalls. 

DAYTONA  BEACH -- Volusia County School Board Chairman Stan Schmidt encouraged the graduating seniors of New Smyrna Beach High School to get involved in their communities and to vote. After the ceremony, he told NSBNews.net he's worried about funding for schools after the next fiscal year because of uncertainty in government spending.

Schmidt said the school board dealt brought a $35 million shortfall down to $3 million and he's confident that figure will be revised further in time for July's preliminary budget and final budget adoption in September for the new fiscal year. He's more concerned about a deteriorating situation two years from now where the school board will be hard pressed not to cut programs that directly impact classroom offerings.

The full interview is on the video above. Here is the text of School Board Chairman Stan Schmidt's address to the New Smyrna Beach High School Class of 2011: 

Good afternoon! It is my honor and privilege to bring you greetings and congratulations from the Volusia County School Board.

Congratulations Class of 2011!!!

In order to get ready for tonight, I did some research - I dug into some old files and found that it has been a long time - 39 years - since I graduated from high school. Furthermore, I discovered that what most graduates remember about the speakers at their commencement exercises is "Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!"

But just in case anyone is taking notes, there are a few points I'd like you to consider.

It takes a team to get you to today and your team is operating in a stressful environment.

Your family fed you and clothed you. They helped you with your homework and projects. They drove you to school and to practices. They woke you up in the morning and made sure you got to school.  

Your teachers trained you to read, to think and to work together. They were there to help and encourage you throughout your years in school.

Your administrators made sure that you had good teachers, textbooks, supplies, classrooms and equipment.

Now despite all the reports you will see in the media, our analysis shows that Volusia high school graduates are showing higher and higher levels of academic performance in the following areas:

* College Ready High School graduation rate

* Percent of graduating class receiving scholarship awards

* Percent of graduating class earning Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate credits

* Percent of graduating class earning college credit through Dual enrollment

* Percent of graduating class participating in the fine and performing arts.

* Percent of graduating class participating in Career Academies

* Percent of graduating class participating in community service.

In short, Volusia County is graduating the best prepared students in our history.

Let's thank your team for all of their efforts.... 

Graduates, today marks the beginning of a new phase in your lives. So I would like to ask YOU a question....

Now what?? Where do you go from here??

Some of you will enter this new stage of your life's journey by attending technical school, college or university. Some will join the workforce. Some will answer the call to serve your country by joining the military.

Whatever you chose to do next, be aware that the world is changing - - - and the pace of change is accelerating.

How do you meet these challenges? I believe there are three things you need to do.

First, continue your education. Whether that education is in a formal setting or self-study, you must continue to add to and refine your skills. 

The demands of the workplace and the economy are changing. You MUST to be able to learn new skills and work with new teams.

Second, Stay informed.

Read the newspapers and magazines, listen to the electronic media. Listen to all sides of the discussion. Question what is said and challenge the assumptions. Stay open to new ideas, reject falsehood and hold on to truth.

 Third, Get involved.

Don't wait for an invitation - jump into the game. Whether you volunteer through a service organization, a church or a political party - get involved - make a contribution - make a difference!

Life is not a reality show that you watch from the sofa - life IS reality. You will get more out of life than what you put into it - - if you get involved.

Above all else, get involved and VOTE! Your vote counts and you do make a difference!!

In conclusion, I challenge you to Continue your education, Stay informed and Get involved.

In a world where real Cudas roam, you are about to leave the minnow bucket. Congratulations on your accomplishment and welcome to a whole new world!!!

NSBNews.net, also known as VolusiaNews.net, provides Volusia County 24 / 7 Internet newspaper coverage, 100% free with breaking news, news of record and investigative reports from New Smyrna Beach, FL, for a 21st-century digital world.