Wednesday will arrive with a noticeable increase in traffic across Cullman County, signaling the return of another school year for both county and city students and teachers.

Students, some for the first time, others beginning their last year, will come by the thousands to their respective schools to engage in the all-important act of learning and preparing for the future.

Much is written about the value and needs in Alabama’s school systems. Is there enough technical training for the job market? Are students prepared for continuing the academic track in college? Is funding adequate to provide the tools of learning necessary to compete in the modern economy? Are facilities safe or outdated?

Those are questions state lawmakers wrestle with each year, but locally education is valued and has enjoyed reasonable tax support from the community. In an era when debates over taxes are fierce, local school systems have shown solid results in graduation rates and watched many students move on to exciting opportunities in higher education and careers.

Students are given many opportunities to explore different fields of learning, to have hands-on experience with valuable technology. The area’s education system, including the thriving programs at Wallace State Community College, is considered a valuable recruitment incentive for news businesses and industries, which is a testament to the commitment of residents.

As we move toward the first day of school, it’s important to remember children will be boarding buses across the county, creating the need for cautious driving. County buses are equipped with new monitoring equipment to help with seeing vehicles approaching, but everyone must keep in mind that traffic will be congested or slow in many areas during school hours.

Cullman police have also plotted a new traffic plan around Cullman Middle School that’s intended to improve traffic flow and safety. Again, attentive driving is key in any of the plans or technology working properly.

This is an exciting time of the year as fall is approaching and students enter their next chapter in life. Renewing friendships and learning together in classrooms are lifetime experiences.

Let’s all do our part to support education, encourage our students to reach new heights and thank our educators for their tireless work and dedication – and have a great school year.

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