Graduation and the next adventure


Memorial Day signals the beginning of summer, but as people across the nation gathered last weekend with family and friends to celebrate the holiday, high school seniors were also celebrating something else: graduation.

Graduating from high school is a significant achievement, earned by homework, reading assignments, essays, tests and exams. All the hours on the school bus, all the notebook paper and number two pencils — they’ve all been leading up to this.

Every graduating senior in the class of 2012 has put years of their lives into their diploma, overcoming challenges on the path through elementary, middle and high school. And achieving that goal, crossing that podium and shaking the hand of their school administrators is a turning point in their lives.

Such milestones deserve to be celebrated, and Memorial Day marked the beginning of graduation party season, where much fun will be had by all as people the graduates didn’t even know they knew come to congratulate them. But — and this goes for everyone who attends a graduation party, adult or student — keep safety in mind as you celebrate, and don’t do anything dumb. There’s a bright new world waiting next fall, and every hometown resident wants to see each graduate make it safely to their next adventure.

High school graduation is a crossroads, and with those next steps on the path come many responsibilities, no matter what direction is chosen.

Next fall many graduating seniors will be college freshmen, living away from home for the first time, making new friends and taking their next steps into adulthood. Others will be entering the work force or the military service, starting the training that may take them across the world as they serve our country.

Breaking away from the nest and living your life on your own for the first time is a heady experience, but being able to make your own choices means more than just being able to stay out all night with friends or eat ice cream for breakfast — you will be responsible for the choices you make. Whatever the outcome, success or disaster, they’ll all come to rest squarely on your shoulders.

So, graduates, take time to think things through as you go off into the wild blue yonder. Think about safety and responsibility and what your parents and grandparents would want you to do. Don’t forget to enjoy every new experience you encounter — just don’t let them go to your head. Where, as high school athletes, musicians, artists, etc., you were representing your high school at contests and concerts, as a high school graduate going off into the world, you’re representing your hometown.

Class of 2012, as you celebrate your achievements this summer and begin the next chapter of your lives, remember your roots. Stay true to the values that you’ve learned during these growing years... and as you go on to future successes, don’t forget to keep in touch.



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