I guess maybe I’m a sentimentalist but I enjoy graduation ceremonies. Graduation, of course, is a major achievement in the lives of our seniors. They have successfully met requirements to step across a stage and receive a piece of paper in front of family and friends. What isn’t seen are the stories behind each individual, the triumphs and struggles spanning 13 years of their young lives. The tears shed both in happiness and tragedies. Like a fingerprint, no two students are alike.
While standing there during the ceremonies, I reflected back on the years that I have had the privilege of witnessing a community come together to celebrate the accomplishment of its youth. Since the 1970s, I think I might have missed one Commencement exercise at Buchanan High. Yes, it does take a village to raise a child. I crossed that symbolic stage in this school district way back in 1970. At the time I didn’t feel the true essence of the moment. I was leaving high school and my lottery number drawn for the draft was 279. I wish I would have better luck with today’s lottery numbers. I continued to reflect back over the following 43 years and the events which have occurred in my life. Coming through the recesses of my mind was the quote (if I knew then what I know now and if I could challenge these young people with that knowledge). Then I woke back up.
What impresses me the most about graduations is community. A community invests their money through the taxes we pay and many open their doors and hearts in giving young people scholarship money to pursue not only higher education but those dreams to make a better world for themselves and our neighbors. That is the sense of community which makes relationships grow and individuals stronger.
By Bob Simmons