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Lucille Davy
Lucille Davy
Education: Livingston High School, Seton Hall University
HomeTown: Elizabeth and Livingston
Occupation: (Former) Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Education

Lucille Davy

I have two children who are in college right now. Even from my own experience, the smartest thing for young people to do is make sure you keep a lot of options open. Don't make choices that might narrow your possibilities later in life. The reason my dad told me to become a certified teacher even though I was majoring in math is because he said I didn't know when I might need that certification. That turned out to be good advice because I did teach after that. Things are vastly different today with technology and the Internet and our global economy being the driving force. It's important for young people to work at their reading, writing, communication and math skills, even if you perceive yourself to be more of a humanities or arts-oriented person, it's important to develop math and science skills because the world requires application of those skills. Even if you consider yourself more of a math, techie person, the bottom line is that the world is so dependent on communication today that you really have to be able to communicate with people. Young people should make sure they keep options open and they don't limit themselves in terms of their exposure to increasing their skills in different areas--particularly in communications, language arts, writing, math, science and technology. Young people today need all of those skills. It's not going to be enough in the future to say well I'm limited to such and such. Keep options open. Even if a young person isn't thinking about college right now, it's very possible that they might need some kind of secondary education in the future just to maintain their job. By 2020, 80% of all jobs will require a college degree. You need to make sure you're prepared to keep those options open. You don't want to find out 10 years from now that you have to go back and acquire all these skills that you could have acquired earlier, even in high school. A rigorous high school program: challenge yourself as a high school student. Don't be afraid to take a course that you think might be a little harder for you because it's not an area you're particularly good at. It's really important to expose yourself to many different curriculum areas so that you have options in the future. If I look at my own background, I was a math major and then I became a lawyer. Even in the job I have now I would say that I use the skills I developed in law school all the time. One wouldn't think that a law degree would prepare you: there's critical thinking and analysis and really good communication and writing skills that come from that. Those skills serve me well in this job. That's true in the way that technology is in everything that we do.