Last week, families and friends gathered to cheer 141 Carpinteria High School and 17 Rincon/Foothill graduates proudly walking across the stage to receive their congratulatory handshakes and more importantly, their high school diplomas. Earning a high school diploma is a meaningful milestone, representing the culmination of 13 years of schooling filled with academic, social, athletic, artistic and musical achievement and growth. As a community that highly values and supports education, we are proud to celebrate this special moment.

Practically speaking, earning a high school diploma can mean $9,000 more in earnings according to a 2015 report in the Wall Street Journal. In the United States, 25 percent of high school students don’t earn a high school diploma in four years. According to the 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics those who don’t earn the diploma, “are the lowest wage earners and can expect an average salary of $25,636 per year. The unemployment rate is also the highest of any educational category. CHS defied the national odds with 95 percent of students earning their diploma and graduating in June 2019. Many CHS graduates are planning to attend Santa Barbara City College where they will participate in the SBCC Promise. The Promise, a project of the SBCC Foundation, uses privately raised funds to pay for enrollment and required fees, books and supplies for two years for any local student who completes high school within the Santa Barbara community college district.

Some CHS graduates will attend the University of California and California State Universities, and others will attend private and public colleges and/or universities in California or in other states. In today’s world, earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree greatly increases average salaries while decreasing the unemployment rate.

According to a recent 2019 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “There is no doubt about the economic value of earning a bachelor’s degree. (Examining) the average wages while adjusting for inflation and other labor market changes over

time … in recent years, the average college graduate with only a bachelor’s degree

earned $78,000 compared to $45,000 for those with only a high school diploma.

This means a typical college graduate earns a premium of over $30,000 or 75 percent.”

We are proud that CHS students are graduating and attending SBCC. As we

cheer their high school graduation, we also strongly urge them to continue their

formal education and earn a bachelor’s degree or beyond.

Diana Rigby is the current superintendent of Carpinteria Unified School District. She is focused on improving teaching and learning for all CUSD students and welcomes parent and community input and feedback. For more information about CUSD, log on to, or contact Diana at or (805) 684-4511x222.

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