June 4, 2010

High School Graduation

Posted in Children, Family, Traditions tagged , , , , at 6:55 am by Liliana



Last Tuesday, my family and I attended my niece, Nicole’s, high school graduation. It was an unusual event, different from many graduations that I have attended in the past.

Nicole went to an alternative high school, a small, intimate place where kids are encouraged to explore their individuality and to cultivate their talents and interests. The ceremony honoring a hundred graduates reflected this emphasis and celebration of differences. The students could wear their caps and gowns if they wanted to, but they didn’t have to. Some wore shorts, others came in suits and ties. A number of girls wore formal dresses, a few wore embroidered skirts.

Each student had a minute to make their voice heard. Some played an instrument or sang a song. Some thanked their parents or teachers. Others read sentimental poems. Some quoted famous men and women. A surprising number mentioned that they didn’t think they would ever graduate. One girl unabashedly embraced her intelligence and geekiness. She admitted that calculus was her favorite class. A young man played his guitar so beautifully that my husband Jeff and my brother-in-law, Joe (who both deeply understands music) almost cried.

I knew that Nicole was nervous. How could she not be in front of her peers, teachers and family? But as her name was called and she walked out on the stage in her elegant black gown, she was in complete control. She leaned to the microphone and thanked everyone for their support and friendships during her years in high school. The only constant in life, she said, is change. No profound quotes or sentimental rhymes from that girl. But her calm, mature voice expressed that she was ready to accept the baton of the next generation.

Good luck to all the young voyagers.