From mid-May well into June, my side of the world is commending one graduation after another. This year we had a wonderful preschool graduation, Kindergarten graduation, and 8th grade graduation. Our feeder High School, LTHS, celebrated high school graduation. Our local community college, the oldest community college in the nation, celebrated graduation at JJC. As a doctoral student at NIU, I look forward to graduating eventually!
To me, it is sad when people talk about anything other than college graduation as if it is a participation trophy. I hear parents and community members alike say 8th grade graduation is not important. But from DARE and GREAT graduation to preschool Fly-up ceremonies, every graduation is important.
I know it can be hard to see every graduation as a milestone. It's not about the cap. It's not even about the speeches where great people say practically the same critical things as 50 years ago. It's about giving yourself and your family an opportunity to celebrate that you are, truth be told, moving on with one part of life then onto the next.
Last night, I sat in the group of onlookers and watch with satisfaction and joy as our 8th graders received their diplomas. As much as many of these students don't like being the focal point of consideration, the parents need this! We tear up and are proud. Diligent work and commitment bloom into celebration and parties!
Shaking hands and meeting families and companions is a method for saying to them, "Well done. Welcome to what comes next."
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.
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