Gov. Jack Markell on Wednesday urged high school seniors to start early in their efforts to secure additional educational opportunities once they graduate.

“I know this is a year full of anxiety and that you’ll have a lot of questions,” Markell told seniors at Caesar Rodney High School. The future of Delaware’s economy – and that of the nation itself – relies on today’s students getting a good education, whether it is through college or a trade, the governor said.

Markell’s visit to CR, as well as one earlier in the day at Dover High School, is part of his effort to make sure seniors are aware of the resources available to them. The governor kicked off his tour Sept. 2 and plans five additional appearances through Sept. 9.

Speaking without notes, Markell went over a number of available programs to help seniors learn about various colleges and funding opportunities. Key among those is the website, which, in addition to a large printed compendium of information available from school counselors, can provide almost all the information students need, he said.

But although these resources are available, nothing will get done unless the students themselves take the initiative, particularly by taking courses to put them on a track to higher education, he said.

“Where you’ll go in life is a reflection of the effort you put in,” Markell said. “The best pathway to opportunity is to challenge yourself while in high school.”

Afterward, students said some of Markell’s comments came as a revelation.

“It was helpful,” said Hira Rashid. “He had a lot to say about scholarships that I didn’t know.”

CR Principal Sherry Kijowski said CR’s Class of 2015 got some good information from Markell.

“I think any time you provide information about access and opportunity, that’s a good thing,” she said. At one time, she added, very little of this information was available to prospective college students.

“But now we’re doing this and supporting everybody in the process,” she said.

Dover High School Principal Evelyn Edney said Markell’s visit was well received by her seniors.

“It’s really great when your governor stops by and says, ‘there are resources the state has to help you be able to be college ready or career ready,’” she said.

“It was great he was able to come and talk to the students and let them know how important that is,” Edney said. “When we were younger, we didn’t have those resources, and it just complements what we’re doing at the school level.”