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.
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.
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.
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.