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Shed a little tear for graduation

By Richard Shaw
Sun Advocate

Over the years most of us get a little jaded about graduations. I mean we have either seen so many of them that they are just another event, or the only one we really remember is ours, and we were just so wanting to get through it that it became a rather unpleasant experience.

Taking in USU Eastern and Pinnacle Canyon High School graduations that have already happened and combining them with Lighthouse/adult student and Carbon High graduation coming this week, it would be easy to get rather surly about them. I imagine there are a few people who have in their family relatives are involved in all of these events.

But we all need to remember how special that time is for the graduates. I have to say the graduations I have participated in as a student in my life have long gone by the wayside. At the time they took place, graduations were almost the most important thing in my life.

What we need to keep in mind is that even if the graduation line is long, the speakers are boring and the seats are hard, it is all for a very good cause. Those people with the funny hats that are going to walk the line have put a lot of effort into getting where they are. It is true that some have just skipped all the way to graduation, but many had to really work for it.

Just think about your own school years. Remember how long it took from 3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on those long hot fall afternoons you spent sitting in your third grade class at your desk. It seemed the bell would never ring. For me it was really torture. I wanted to be outside doing stuff, not listening to my teacher read Tom Sawyer to us.

Then there was the homework. True , once you start your work life homework can be pretty heavy too. I bring stuff home to do all the time. But remember sitting at a card table in your mom and dad's living room trying to do algebra while the television was going and something you wanted to watch was on.

Or how about diagramming complex sentences (something I don't think they teach anymore) on a Sunday evening (you didn't do it on Friday night like you should have) so you could have it ready for Monday morning's English class.

Or how about reading one of the "classics" in bed late into the evening for school the next day when you would have rather been reading a Spiderman or Fantastic Four comic book.

And remember, if you were a good student, there was real reward in getting high scores on flash spelling tests or pop quizzes in history. If you weren't, the only reward came when the test was over and you got out of class for the day.

Students work hard (or they should). We should all respect that. Sometimes their antics seem juvenile (even with 18+ year old college students) but remember there is only one time in their life they can be what they are now.

For me school was very rewarding. I liked school and worked hard to get good grades despite a brain that only worked part of the time (as it obviously does now).

Graduation is a time of celebration and new beginnings, not the end of things. Okay, I know that sounds too much like a graduation speech, but it's true.

It's been over four decades since I graduated from high school, and to be honest, I can't remember a thing about it. I actually remember the graduation practice better than I do the actual ceremony. I might have remembered it better if a President or the Queen of England had spoken there, but I can't name one person who said a word from the podium.

Many who have graduated from our schools here and will graduate this next week will be the same. They are looking to the future, not to what they have done in the past. I know that is where my mind was. I was looking forward to the freedom of not having to ever go to school again if I didn't want to, but on the other hand knowing the responsibility of going on was absolutely mandatory.

So give these students, regardless of their age, a pat on the back. Tell them you are proud of them, and most of all show it to them by giving them your support as they move into their futures.

And let that graduation you attend, put a little tear in your eye. Whether you are 30 or 70, you know what these graduates will be facing. They will have joys and they will have lows in the coming years. Each of you have had yours too.

Give them a chance, for a moment, to bask in the glow of accomplishment.

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