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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | May 21st, 2017


    This past weekend I went to one graduation ceremony and three graduation parties. All were graduating from high school. What was amazing is that when I reviewed the graduation booklet, I noticed that I had delivered three of the students. I was blessed to attend one of those student’s graduation party. She graduated with honors and will be attending college. She hopes to be an obstetrician/gynecologist one day. I am so proud of all the students that graduated.

    In the United States, about 1.2 million students drop out of high school each year and that equates to about 7,000 students a day. Blacks and Hispanic youths are more likely than Whites and Asians to have dropped out of high school.

    Four hundred students received their high school diplomas at that ceremony. By finishing high school, they are less likely to be unemployed.  They are less likely to be incarcerated. They are less likely to live in poverty and most importantly they are less likely to have poor health.  If these high school graduates go onto to become college graduates, they will live 5 years longer than individuals who have not finished high school. They will markedly reduce their risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.  They are less likely to smoke. Their infants are more likely to survive and thrive past the first year of life.  Ann Plato* was correct when she said, “a good education is another name for happiness”.

    (To learn more about education and health, please click here)

    At one of the graduation parties I attended, one of the guests had three gift bags. She had a gift for the graduate and gifts for the mother and grandmother of the graduate.  Although the graduate had to do the day to day work to finish high school, the family support was crucial. The guest recognized the importance of that support.  I asked the guest for my gift and she smiled. I think she smiled because to give a gift to everyone that was part of this graduate’s life would have been cost prohibitive because it truly takes a village.

    We can be part of a village. Every time we see a young child or a young adult, we need to ask about school. If they are discouraged, we need to encourage. We need to go to as many graduation ceremonies or parties that we can attend to tell that graduate that we are proud of their accomplishments. It does not matter if they are graduating from kindergarten or getting their PhD, we need each student to know that we are here for them.  We can support them in different ways. Sometimes, it is to give monetary gifts and sometimes it is to give a hug. Sometimes, advice is all that is needed and sometimes it is silence and just our presence.  Sometimes, it is just a prayer.

    By being part of a village, we can improve the graduation rates. By being part of a village we not only make a difference in another person’s life but we make a difference in our lives.



    *Ann Plato was the second woman of color to publish a book in America and the first to publish a book of essays and poems. She was an educator.

    2 Responses to “IT TAKES A VILLAGE”

    1. Chinwe Okpalaoka says:

      Thank you Dr. Ngozi for the reminder that it truly takes a village to raise a child. Our Pastor put it in another way: He said that the hopes and dreams of the older generation are realized in the upcoming generation. The statistics here make it very plain that it is important to celebrate these milestones.

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        I love what your pastor said. Maybe if we all had that mindset, we would invest more in our upcoming generation. Thank you.

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