Saturday, July 20th, 2024

C Children First by Becky Adams


It's graduation season when auditoriums are filled with students donning caps and gowns. Families and friends fill the chairs or bleachers to hear speeches and excitedly wait for their person to walk across the stage after their name is called. They receive that special degree or diploma.

Confusion exists at times about the two words graduation and commencement. A student has to complete a specific list of requirements and have those recorded on an official transcript to be eligible for graduation. This is true at the high school or college level. If the student then wants to celebrate by receiving their degree in public, they can participate in a commencement ceremony.

This is a time of great celebration for many groups.

For the graduates, they have reached a significant culmination in their academic journey. They have completed many courses and experiences that now allow them to take their next important steps in life. Some will enter the world of work and a career. Others will continue to further their education. It is a time of joy and many questions.

Parents have a myriad of feelings when their children graduate from high school or college. The sense of pride that overwhelms parents is tempered by the twinge of having to let go of that child who has spent years depending upon them for so much.

Grandparents experience a double set of joy and admiration at graduation. They are pleased to witness their grandchild walk across the stage and enter whatever field they choose. The second aspect of their pride is related to their own children, who are the graduate's parents. As they sit through the ceremony, their minds often wander back twenty or so years to watching their own children walk across the stage.

The siblings of the graduate play a unique role in this journey. The younger ones are watching all the details swirling around their big brother or sister. Perhaps they will have a similar celebration in a few years. Older siblings can act as mentors to the graduate by sharing tips on how to wear the cap and gown or straighten the tassel and honor cords.

Teachers and administrators have worked with the graduates for years, guiding them toward this goal. In some cases, they have felt like surrogate parents of the students who lacked home support.
Graduation is indeed a milestone in a person's journey and, therefore, a milestone for everyone around them. While it is a time to celebrate previous achievements, it also points to the future. Every graduate has unique potential. It is up to each of them to figure out how to use that potential in what really matters in life. 

In the words of the beloved poet Dr. Seuss:
"You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So...get on your way!"

We are all cheering for you!