Education is the key to success

Published 9:48 am Thursday, March 3, 2016

At Niles Community Schools, we firmly believe that education is the key to success. I realize this sounds obvious, but it’s worth repeating and reiterating to ensure we’re all working to achieve a common objective — maximizing student performance and potential.

Success is often attributed to hard work and a little bit of luck. Research strongly supports the link between success and education, which is where I believe the hard work comes into play. The level of one’s academic achievement is connected to one’s satisfaction in their career and life, as education creates opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.

Education, and therefore learning and instruction, are critical components to the future success of our community’s children. At a recent strategic planning retreat hosted by Niles Community Schools, a group of volunteers, representing stakeholders of the school and community, crafted a set of beliefs to serve as a guide as we continue to build upon the momentum we’ve seen over the past two years. The fundamental belief that education is the key to success resonates throughout the community and is supported by years of research. The relationship between success and a Niles education is evident in those who have graduated from our schools.

Justin Zimmerman graduated in 2008 from Niles High School, attended Central Michigan University and received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts so that he could explore his passion for graphic design. Though Justin received an attractive job offer from a company in Arizona, upon graduation he accepted a position with the University of Notre Dame’s Marketing Communications’ team. He chose this opportunity because it was much closer to his hometown of Niles.

Justin decided to return to Niles not only because of its strong educational system, but because of the warm and inviting culture the community offers and which he believes has contributed to his success.

For Erica Gordon, another Niles High School graduate, the abundant opportunities available during her time at school ­— including clubs, sports and advanced placement classes — were essential in her development. Today, she is working towards her doctorate in physical therapy at Andrews University. All of the opportunities she was exposed to while at Niles High School, like the Health Professional Career Academy program in conjunction with Lakeland Community Hospital, made it easier for her to choose a career path.

As you can see, Niles Community Schools has a long tradition of providing the necessary skills and knowledge for our students to be successful long after graduation. The strategic plan we have developed in collaboration with the community drives the work that we do and reinforces the fundamental belief that education is the key to future success.

We will continue to provide diverse educational programs for our community so that every child is equipped to achieve today and into tomorrow.


Dr. Dan Applegate is Superintendent at Niles Community Schools.