An article in the July 18 Arizona Republic by Jon Kamman showed that the residents of the most prestigious communities in the Valley not only had a higher yearly income, but a larger percentage of them had additional schooling beyond high school.
After reading the article, I find myself concerned about the large number of students in Payson who drop out before even completing high school. These students are relegating themselves to lower income jobs and more family problems due to their lack of income.
Many drop out because their parents didn't complete high school, but today's economy demands more not less education for good jobs. Sure there are jobs available for the uneducated, but the work is hard and the pay is low, because there is a lot of competition for these jobs.
I am an instructor at the Payson Community College and I see many students in their 30s and 40s who dropped out and now finally realize the value of an education. These people work full time, raise children and attend college. Isn't it easier to get your education as a teenager before you have a family to support?
If you have already dropped out you can get a G.E.D. by passing a test that shows you know as much as most high school graduates. This test is given periodically at your local community college. If you need tutoring before taking the G.E.D. test call Rim Country Literacy at 468-7257.
Once you pass the G.E.D. test, you may want to get more education so as to get an even better job. Check out the possibilities at the Gila County Community College (formerly EAC Payson Campus). If you are going for a bachelor's degree, Northern Arizona University (headquartered in Flagstaff) conducts classes in the Gila County Community College classrooms which will allow you to get a bachelor's degree without leaving Payson.
Very few rural Arizona towns have this great a variety of education available. Since you already live here, why not take advantage of it?
Paul Ellinger, Payson