From shore to shore and in all the places in between, seniors are donning cap and gown and walking across some sort of a stage to the sound of cheering family and friends. Graduation is akin to a victory dance this year. Whether in person, or virtual, or some hybrid, learning is still the golden right it’s always been, and I am always grateful to be part of this vast public initiative to provide every student a pathway to their dream.
It would be naive of me to suggest that all students are given the same opportunity, but I know that at my school, and hopefully yours, they are offered just that. A chance to rise up into exactly the puffy vision they have worked toward. We teachers do what we can to prop and push and cajole and captivate for days and days just to reach this glorious end.
Years ago I wrote about the bravery I witnessed as seniors leapt into their future, in Graduation Day. A few years later I thought to harness some of their hope in We All Need a Graduation. In Graduation, however, I was encouraged once again by those who crossed the stage by uncanny determination. Students who beat their shaky odds are the most impressive, aren’t they? We watch with wonder and delight as they dig in and prove to everyone that they were listening and will go further than expected. They give me all I need to sign up for another year, and I find myself cheering the loudest when they hold their diploma up high for all to see.
Today I am proud of how this year’s seniors handled every curve ball that came their way. Class of 2021, you are just as brave and hopeful as those who came before you, but have proven to be flexible and innovative, compassionate and organized, and I couldn’t be prouder to stand and applaud you tonight! You are a once in a hundred years kind of wonderful.
May the parade and the celebrations last long past the setting sun. Class of 2021 you will be remembered for your willingness to accept what comes your way and pivot as needed. You have taught me to love my job, and for that I am so very glad.
As this day fades, your hard work will not. Of this I am absolutely certain.