To the Class of 2014, congratulations and Happy Graduation Day!
At long last, the time has finally come to don that cap and gown and receive your diploma with congratulatory handshakes from school officials and commencement speaker while the solemn, classical music to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” is being played.
Yes, you finally made it, graduates! You made it to the Class of 2014! It’s worth all the efforts, struggles and the sacrifices. You deserve all the recognition because you have overcome the rigors of school life. You have succeeded in overcoming challenges and pressures and stresses in all aspects of school life---academics, athletics and other extracurricular activities.
Dear graduates, you have all the reasons to relax now, take it easy, and rejoice with and celebrate your achievements and accomplishments with your family, friends, teachers, and those who inspired and helped you through the years while in school. Seize the moment, for it will become a memory, a nostalgic, happy memory to cherish. Take souvenir pictures. Capture those moments spent with your classmates, dear teachers, guests/visitors. Cherish their hugs and kisses, and their mere presence. Enjoy the rest of the day partying responsibly and lawfully! Indeed, you deserve to celebrate your scholarly achievement.
To all the parents and teachers of graduating Class of 2014, I do appreciate and thank you for being there with your students---loving and caring for them, teaching and guiding them no matter what circumstances they have had. Likewise, my sincere thanks to our school administrators, staff-personnel, and volunteers who shared their time, talents and treasures to our students.
Yes, it’s graduation season in our school systems across the country. In fact, other school divisions or colleges, in our area and elsewhere, have already had their graduation ceremonies/exercises---a school tradition that can never be obsolete for as long as schools exist as fountain and powerhouses of knowledge and education, catalysts of changes and reforms for a society, such as ours, that is evolving and transforming as technology and our life-world. (FYI: I learned from my wife (who teaches high school Chemistry) that graduating seniors in their school will have their graduation day Friday, June 13. The event will take place in the evening in a coliseum, she said.)
To most of us, if not many, graduation day is a special day of celebration for our graduates who have successfully completed the requirements of a certain level, or degree, of education and, thus, ready to embark on another chapter in their life. It is a time to rejoice with and be grateful for all the factors involved in the success of our students..
Truly so, graduation day, or commencement exercises, is a milestone in a student’s life. It is just a start, a beginning of a more complex, challenging life for our new graduates, whether they graduated from elementary, secondary, collegiate or post-graduate education. To both our students and regular classroom teachers, it may mean the culmination of their school activities for the school year and the start of a month or two of their summer vacation.
Now, the question that needs an answer for the graduates is this: What now, graduates? What’s next for you? Gainful employment? A military service commitment? Looking forward to the next ladder of continuing education or higher education? A sabbatical from schoolwork? A paid apprenticeship or internship in a private or public establishment?
Well, whatever goals or plans you have for your future, continue to work for it. Keep it up and let the momentum going to realize your dream/s. Just remember, no one can stop you from pursuing and/or realizing your dreams. Your confidence and strong determination to succeed supersede all odds coming your way. Be optimistic. That is, look at the brighter side of life. Cheers and smile! You can always make your life and others better. Your future is in your hands, graduates, because life is what you make it.
Once again, congratulations and best wishes to all of you, Class of 2014!
-Chris A. Quilpa, a U.S. Navy retired veteran, is a resident of North Suffolk. He maintains a blog at onebuddingpoet/writer-chris.blogspot.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.