Although classes did not begin until today for Booneville School District Students, teachers and staff were at the school most of last week for in-service sessions and discussions about the 2018-2019 school year.

On Tuesday the district received a visit from Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who admonished teachers to remember “if you look at the goals we have as a state, as a society, as a country, they all involved (a) better educated workforce, better educated citizens. Whether that means they go on to a six-month certification after high school, whether they get a two-year associates (degree), whether they get a bachelor’s or a master’s or a doctorate. We need all of those things.”

Frankly, Griffin said, teachers should not give students who express no interest in college to be lazy.

“It all has to do with what role they play. It’s like a football team. The quarterback gets a lot of attention but without the blockers the quarterback would never be able to do anything. There are different position that get more attention but every position is critical to the functioning of our society to get us where we want to go,” said Griffin.

Consequently, Griffin advised “meeting students where they are,” be that needing to go to work immediately through a certification or whether it’s through a traditional college campus setting.

A self-described “STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) cheerleader,” Griffin added, “we need to have an open view of where students end up.”

Griffin said he could detail multiple technical jobs that require no degree but will provide the job holder with a living.

“And if we do it right, a lot of these technical jobs, those jobs will be sustainable,” Griffin said. “Almost every big company we’re trying to recruit (to the state) involves STEM.”

Griffin said he would love to lure Boeing to the state and if so all aspects of society would be necessary.

“Some of those folks would have doctorates, some of those folks will have masters (degrees), and some of those folks won’t have a degree but they will have intense technical training and they’ll be making a sizable income,” he said.

“Everything these days involves both the arts and STEM. What do I mean? No matter what job you’ve got you need to be able to write, really,” he said. “Writing teaches you how to speak. Unless you’ve got a job where you’re not speaking, you’re going to be using the arts. And every job involves STEM.

“If you’re designing chairs, that’s STEM, if you’re designing anything on a computer, which is how everything is designed these days, that’s STEM. If you’re a manufacturing plant, obviously, you’re going to be doing some STEM stuff. If you’re in healthcare, that’s STEM,” he said. “STEM is extremely broad.”

Griffin said he believed for too long only the students expected to go to college were expected to excel in advanced classes and those not college-bound were placed in remedial classes or being viewed as students “we’ve got to get through.”

“There are a lot of our young people who are not going to go to college who want to go the technical route, who have the capability to be in the advanced classes, the college math, AP math whatever,” said Griffin. “We ought to encourage them to be in there, even if they tell us point blank they’re not going to college.

“You know what, they may find themselves getting out, getting technical training, working for a manufacturer and if they know sophisticated math, calculus and beyond, they may end up managing folks. They may get promoted. They may get better opportunities. I think we ought to be pushing everyone, regardless of what hey want to do in life to be the very best that they can possibly be.”