Today is graduation day for the seniors. To see them milling about campus, dealing with everything from turning in overdue textbooks to making sure their graduation gown fits properly, it’s an amazing flurry to watch.
Some students are immensely proud. And rightfully so. When you are the first in your family to ever earn a diploma, it’s a monumentally meaningful event.
On my campus, every year, we get that a lot.
Other kids are nervous. It’s almost as if they have a look on their face of wishing they could have just one more year, a grade 13, so that they could be more prepared to face the moment for which one really cannot prepare.
Life (outside of school) is scary. And today they sense it.
There are smiles. There are tears. There are regrets and uncertainty, confidence and joy, friends one will have forever and friends one will almost never see again.
All in all, however, hope is in the air. And these students have earned that taste of hope. After all, they are the ones who made it. Made it through the bureaucratic hoops. Made it past the siren calls. Made it past the gatekeepers, trolls, foils and fools it to a doorstep of matriculation that will forever elevate them, if only but slightly, yet in a way that can never be taken away from them.
To many in this country, earning a high school diploma is a small, wholly expected achievement. To others, it is Everest.
Congrats to the seniors. My advice: pursue something meaningful in this world. It is the wellspring from which great value in life can emerge and re-emerge as you move through the years.