I once heard on the radio that in China the newspapers favored students who had done well academically and that less attention was paid to athletic prowess. My local newspaper -- which survives for the moment -- is filled with athletic achievements by local kids: Not "Johnny got an A in chemistry," but "Suzy scored a goal in the third period."
Generally, I feel that, starting anywhere, a person is capable of going anywhere...that wisdom can grow even between the cracks in sidewalk cement. But the privilege of education is likely to give more bang for the buck...make more likely the understanding of possibilities. The fact that some smart people are dumber than golf tees doesn't erase the thought.
I guess my older son's graduating from high school tomorrow brings this to mind. I guess I hope that whatever he has learned will serve him well and keep him safe. But since there are no guarantees, I guess I'd better take a look at my hopes.