Published: Sunday, May 23rd, 2004
Graduation from high school is often an emotional event for both students and parents, It is a time of sadness and happiness because it represents the ending of one era and the beginning of another. It can also be just a little frightening as rather sudden changes in life styles occur almost as soon as the diplomas are received. Whereas, dreams of the future for twelve years were probably most pleasant; many of those dreams must be replaced by reality and serious thoughts about the future. One day a young person is seated at a desk in a high school classroom, and the next, he is standing outside the school, knowing that he no longer belongs there and wondering exactly where he belongs. He is happy because he has completed his high school education, but a little sad because a major era of his life has ended. Many of us who graduated long ago can still remember that special night as if it were last week and can still recall our mixed feelings. We laughed in public and cried at home, wondering what the future would hold. Some of us were fortunate enough to know what we wanted to do and set about doing it, but others struggled for several years before finding direction. Some were eager to declare independence and to leave home almost immediately, but others wanted to remain fairly dependent and to remain in the safety of home. Although I knew I wanted to become a teacher, I wasn’t exactly eager to leave home or to declare independence. I had enjoyed the security of home, knowing I was loved and protected and became quite anxious at the thought of bidding farewell to all that. Of course, I also knew I would continue to be loved and protected even at a distance, but I was hesitant to think about that distance even though it would be but 300 miles. That summer after graduation was filled with preparations for college and gatherings with friends who would be heading in all directions. We talked bravely about our plans and about our intentions to remain friends, but we were puzzled about all that was happening around us and wondering if we had made the right choices. My parents remained strong and adamant but later explained their feelings as they thought about my being at a distance and wondered if I had any idea what I was doing. They most definitely supported my plans once Dad was certain he couldn’t talk me out of becoming a teacher. I think he secretly thought I would come to my senses before I had to declare my major. At any rate, I knew I could call on them for help should I need it and knew I had a place at home should I decide to run away from college. Just knowing such things helps a young person to begin to face adulthood and to want to do his best in life. The last days of school should be enjoyed and cherished, as with most things in life, they come but once. They should be filled with pleasant memories and the pride of accomplishment. Let’s wish the graduating seniors good luck and let them know we are also very proud of their efforts. They have their futures before them and can make of them what they wish.
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