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We know that to compete for the jobs of the 21st century and thrive in a global economy, we need a growing, skilled and educated workforce, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Americans with bachelor's degrees have half the unemployment rate of those with a high school degree.
In 1985, I was living with my sister in Virginia, and since I was still in high school, I worked at McDonald's to save money to get an abortion. It sounds really terrible, but it was the best decision I ever made. It was the first time I took responsibility for my actions. I messed up, had sex without contraception, and got pregnant at 15.
My father was a truck driver. That's where it all started, and academically I was a disaster at school. My cousin got his name on the honour board; I, at Melbourne High School, I carved mine on the desk.
Going to high school in rural Florida, we always partied down in the woods. Somebody - one of the rednecks - would leave class and mow a path out to a field, and we'd drive out there. Dude, every party I went to was lit by a bonfire. Acoustic guitar.
That smell of freshly cut grass makes me think of Friday night football in high school. The smell of popcorn and cigar smoke reminds me of the stadium. The cutting of the grass reminds me of the August practice.