Times have changed; high school dropouts today likely won’t succeed

Times have changed; high school dropouts today likely won’t succeed

2222The days of my youth were memorable and, discounting the work I was required to do around our farm, enjoyable.

At an early age I created a deep fascination for aviation and flying. At 10, I could name nearly every airplane in existence both military and civilian. My days and nights were filled with dreams of becoming a commercial pilot. By the time I reached the second grade I was an ardent reader and would eagerly await the monthly flying magazines. Despite my Dad telling me to stop wasting my time, I would bury my head in them at every opportunity.

I was a poor student, and my attempts at grasping algebra and ancient history were a dismal failure. At the time, I thought what good is algebra and ancient history to a pilot?

As a high school dropout I’m sure most people looked to my future as anything but promising. However, I did not share their observation, because I had my dream, which was fortified with ambition and motivated by the tremendous desire to achieve my goal.

Then came WW II. My lack of education prevented me from flying, so I spent my four years in Marine Aviation grinding my teeth as I watched those F4Us take to the sky. When the war was over, by the grace of God I arrived home in one piece.

I landed my first good job holding down the right seat of a DC3. We flew all over North America in all kinds of weather. The three years I spent on that airplane was a real learning experience and gave me the confidence and ability to strike out on my own.

Before I conclude, just a word of advice to any young people: Don’t be a high school dropout. Stay in school. Learn to read well, and the world of knowledge will be yours for the taking. My experience cannot be looked upon as an example of how to succeed today, things are much more complex.

What I had to offer then wouldn’t be enough in the age we now live.

Find a goal, aim high and pursue it, but be practical; don’t shoot for the moon.

Leon J. White, Columbiana