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Diploma image

-by Bill Watkins 10/8/2017


I graduated from a very high-rated private school in Pasadena, California in 1990 a full-blown alcoholic heading for college, Phi Beta Kappa honors, division one sports and two drug overdoses.

A straight-A MVP drunk, incapable of intimate relationships, love and ignorant of the Law.

In fact, I routinely broke the law, at times with the attitude of entitlement that comes with being a member of a family that had money.

“What do I need with the law?  I’m a member of a country club!”


It’s easy to get off point here, and talk about the trappings of perceived social “class.”  Education-wise, the answer I have for rich and poor, as they journey through grades K through 12 merely adds to my last article and thought—extends from it naturally.

The only required course in all of our schooling should be Law.  Civics grows from that, and from a course and value on civics:


No student should be eligible to receive a High School diploma without first demonstrating a suitable level of Citizenship.

I’m not referring to a few hours of “community service.”

I am talking about a fundamental respect for and knowledge of our nation’s laws, state statutes and even local regulations.

A willingness to be a legal member of society is more important that College.

“College,” in fact, can be a false god, the great “cure-all” sold to the young and their families.  “If you just get into the right college, all will be great.”

Hogwash.  Wherever you go, there you are.

It doesn’t help you or your college to arrive there with illegal views and practices.


A test should be developed.  One to test a high school senior of their law knowledge, and their assertiveness at stating their allegiance to it and our country.

Tack that on to Community Service requirements already in place, perhaps throw in an Interview with school administrators.

The interview would be an oral test to see if the child in question was worthy of a high school diploma, beyond grades received and standard extra-curricular story points.

The idea is to put more meaning into that Diploma; to make it a tougher thing to acquire.

To tell employers and college admissions staff that a young student or prospective employee has undergone great scrutiny, succeeded, and is in possession of a great Proof of Citizenship.