Success in Graduating

June 13, 2011 § 7 Comments

“Success is what he have all achieved here tonight,” my voice projected through the microphone at Thursday’s graduation ceremony. Success... After 13 years of public education, my peers and I have officially graduated High School and things are still hitting me now. Some people warned that a wave of emotions would come over us only after graduation, but these past two weeks have seemed more like an onslaught of tsunamis. Thankfully, I removed myself from all distractors and experienced the emotional ride full force. An authentic experience is what I desired – and graduation didn’t disappoint even as I remained almost fully detached from facebook, twitter, and this blog.

Grad Speecj

Me speaking at graduation

They say beginning is the hardest part to writing a story, putting pen to paper, initiating the first steps however small they may be… much like starting High School four years ago for some. I argue finishing is by far harder, though the steps are broader now upon graduating. Parting ways with a masterpiece 4 years in the making, one we have been dreaming about, slaving over, and tempering into a celebration of who we are, should always be difficult if not plain bittersweet. Sad even. Yet as I write this, my eyes swell not out of depression but out of awe for what we have accomplished.

Last Friday we held our Senior Awards Ceremony where many classmates were recognized for their great accomplishments. Students were praised for their excellence in music, science, and the arts amongst many things. I am fortunate enough to have won 9 awards which represent my scholastic achievements well.

My friends and I winning awards for learning Chinese

For a track award and 6 for leadership, two others for my work in communications and Chinese, I was deemed the “big winner” of the morning – a compliment many parents and peers told me which I still find difficult to take though I appreciate it. How can one respond when he knows the truth is we all were and are winners. We survived high school and did so not by the skin on our teeth but with profound success in many areas, some unmeasurable by the school administration. Then again, we all do receive one award at least… our diploma!

One week later, our graduation ceremony began with a parade of officials and school flags. I carried our school district’s flag up to the stage, afterwords taking my seat next to the other speakers. A new wave of emotions hit me as my last minutes of High School dwindled, bit by bit. Where sadness had once dominated my mindset towards leaving school, a small elation began to burn till the diploma was in my hand.

Penncrest class of 2011 graduates/speakers

It’s queer how each of my peers had  once cherished the thought of leaving while I had dreaded the passing days I viewed as an ending to the best years of my rather short life (in fact they are but I’m hoping to change that soon!) Yet upon graduation I was cheerful and others were happily distraught. Perhaps its the cinematic scene of crying graduates that they took pride in recreating, but I think more realistically it was the realization that never again will we have such people, such friends, such family as we did at Penncrest – their tears symbolizing the gratitude they have for such an opus.

That opus is our success. Graduating High School not as a collection of cliques, bitter rivals, and invisible children who just so happened to show up to graduation… but as a family. These past four years have been amazing, each an exultation of learning in academics and in life which fortified a base from which I now stand tall. My High School career has felt more like a celebration – like a party, and now at it’s closure, I still demand the right to cry if I want to. Though if I do, they’ll be tears of happiness and gratitude, my last contribution to the tsunami of emotions.




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§ 7 Responses to Success in Graduating

  • Jacob Woods says:

    Graduation is always such a milestone for us. However, there is so much more ahead of you, you couldn’t even begin to imagine. If high school is the best years of our lives, the rest is really going to suck, luckily, college after high school is where you meet your best friends you could ever imagine having. The best of luck as always, and congrats.

  • JC says:

    Congrats on the awards and graduating!

    You’ve heard the analogy…graduation just marks the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. No chapter is possible without the events that happen in the previous chapters, and you closed this one with a bang. In some ways, it’s a cliffhanger…we’re all wondering “what’s next?”. You’re probably asking yourself the same question.

    I love the way you view graduation as a team accomplishment rather than an individual accomplishment. You’re right, there are so many peers that played a role in what led to you being able to graduate. Your classmates helped you with your homework, as I’m sure you helped them with theirs. There were group projects, group studies, etc.

    Enjoy your summer!

  • Craig says:

    “You’re probably asking yourself the same question.” – Indeed I am, many many times over. But as the days progress and I have some more time to contemplate my future, things are beginning to work themselves out in my mind and thankfully so! The uncertainty is energizing, but dwelling on such potential for too long can easily become draining. Thanks for the comment Jeff! I hope all turned out well for the end of your Season!

  • Mike Sarzo says:

    I had a lot of graduations in my time: High school, community college, university undergraduate. All of them were special in their own way.

    I, too, got to speak at my high school graduation, serve as flag bearer and sit on the stage. I chose to sit with the rest of my class after getting my diploma, even though it was the summer school graduation.

    When I graduated from community college, I did so as sitting student government president, so I got to shake hands with everyone on the Board of Trustees. Even if I’d had the chance to sit on the stage, I would have chosen to sit with my class.

    When I graduated from my university, my then-roommate’s parents made it a very memorable day.

    I’m glad you had such a fulfilling year and high school career and wish you the utmost success as you prepare to write the next chapter of the book of your life.

  • Liz says:

    CJ – I’ll always welcome you in our home, in my heart. Your family ROCKS. We have a long history, as you know. You stop by any time to say hello, and I will rejoice. Yes, I worry about AIDS a lot. Sorry to say that. I worry about violence with the Gay community, as Bill and I have lost a fellow coworker to violence (a Phila. financial analyst). Your dad, in particular, is the greatest guy in our minds; well, your mother, too…I never volunteered for anything, and there she was, always there. I work full time, so does that give me a break, ha ha ? Kent just loved your dad at AM prom — I cannot say enough there….Good luck in your studies and your track. You’re a good writer; looking forward to seeing more of your writing. Always in our hearts. Liz Gorman (Mrs. Gorman, ha ha!) But you don’t have to call me that.

  • Liz says:

    P.S. I just hated my high school in Minneapolis; didn’t want to be there.. My parents said that I went there, but they had to take my word for it… I wanted to go to a more urban school but my parents refused. I didn’t want to go to the Univ. of MN, but my parents refused, too. It all worked out. I do believe in fate, and I do believe in God Almighty’s plans for us. I couldn’t be happier in life now. As the phrase goes, “WHO KNEW?”

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