High School Graduation Still a Major Milepost
Today, tomorrow and Saturday are very much about High School graduation in my family. Today, my daughters’ school celebrated Class Day – the day to celebrate the winners of many various annual awards, culminating in the announcement of the Salutatorian and Valedictorian of the graduating class. Tomorrow, the school will hold Baccalaureate – when selected groups of the senior class perform for the school community and the families of the graduating seniors. Then the actual graduation occurs on Saturday, after which the graduating class is loaded onto a bus for a last overnight retreat before they scatter for the summer and spread across the nation and the world for college next fall.
I was surprised, delighted, amazed, and incredibly proud to see my older daughter announced as Salutatorian of her class. My wife and I had received a “Top Secret” email from the school last week telling us that our daughter would be winning an award and that we should plan to attend, but we expected it to be the award for being the top student studying Chinese (she is one of two graduating seniors that have taken Chinese for all seven years since enter the school in sixth grade).
When our daughter’s name was called as the Salutatorian, my wife happened to be looking directly at our daughter – she was absolutely shocked. The students thought that they pretty well knew who had the highest GPAs in the school, but the quiet “stealth” students turned out to be the holders of both of the top GPAs.
I was thinking back to my own high school graduation – almost exactly 30 years ago today. Many of the people in my graduating class had no plans for further education – they were either going to work for Dan River Mills (if they lived in the city) or planning to plant a field of tobacco (if they lived in the country). For them, high school graduation was a huge demarcation – the end of being a child/student and start of adulthood.
Over half of my daughter’s class has been together since sixth grade, and it has been a privilege and pleasure to watch them grow from awkward young girls into accomplished young women. They are ready to head on to the next stage of their lives, even if graduating high school no longer is the demarcation between student and adult that it was in my time.
They are ready to take on the world.