Students teach lesson in responsibility

Young and old alike can learn valuable lessons from a group of Lakewood High School graduates who looked beyond themselves to future generations, giving back in a big way.

In the world we live in today that is an especially important example to follow, given that so many view their responsibilities in this world as starting and ending with themselves. Actually that isn’t even true when, in large part, we believe a vast majority of people see it as everyone else’s responsibility to take care of them and the world in which they live.

It’s a sad testament but, unfortunately the direction in which we have seen society going.

But then individuals like Caitlin Ivey, Currie Carter, Sarah Wallace Strickland and a group of their Lakewood cohorts come along. Those individuals, with a stroke of unselfishness, have taught us, and we hope others, valued lessons on young people and what they can do if they put their minds and hearts behind a project.

These young people, backed by former LHS principal Kevin Hunter, Student Government Association Advisor Donna Jordan and Arnold Sandy, owner of Sandy’s Hauling & Backhoe Service Inc., initiated the Pave it Forward campaign, one that has helped to raise money to fund the much-needed paving of Lakewood High’s student parking area.

The paving, which is underway now, didn’t come a minute too soon. The big-ticket item has been discussed by the Sampson County Board of Education for going on two decades, but pouring ashphalt has always been a costly venture — believed now to be upwards of a $70,000 to $100,000 expenditure now — and because of that never a serious priority.

The student-led effort, along with community and business contributions that those same young people were responsible for ensuring, changed that landscape and thus the priorities, and now what had been a longed-for dream is fast becoming a full-fledged reality.

“We knew going into this project that it wasn’t about us,” Ivey said in a Tuesday Sampson Independent article. “It was,” she added, “about the future of our school, our siblings in middle school and everybody that’s coming behind us. Even though we didn’t get to use it, somebody else will.”

Those are impressive words that we hope others will mirror as they are asked to join in strengthening communities through financial and time commitments to civic organizations, churches and, well, life in general.

What Ivey and her friends displayed was what we often preach: responsibility that extends beyond your own back door. It’s a philosophy we feared had gotten lost from one generation to the next, but Ivey and her cohorts have shown us that there are still young people out there who can teach even the older generations a thing or two about giving.

The Pave It Forward project gained the respect and assistance of the Sampson County Board of Education, which shouldered the largest financial portion of the paving campaign, but we maintain that had it not been for a group of caring young people visionary enough to see beyond their years at Lakewood that the paving happening now would still be sitting deep within a capital outlay request waiting to become a priority.