The graduation

Today I had the honor of being the commencement speaker at East Webster High School. It was a packed house in their newly rebuilt (and fortified) gymnasium. (A EF-3 tornado destroyed much of the school in 2011 — the gym is now also a storm shelter). The students marched in. I spoke first. The valedictorian and salutatorian gave their speeches (they both did great). Then all 59 students got a diploma. The principal announced they were officially graduates and hats flew into the air.

Students took pictures with each other and their parents and then would scatter into the wind like dandelion seeds.

A chapter of their lives has now closed.

My own graduation was 31 (ahem) years ago. I don’t remember much about it (I was sober, honest). But what I do remember is what I noticed today — It ended so fast. I remember walking away from the civic center, saying goodbye to people I had known most of my life and never seeing many of them again. We had worked so hard for so long and it was over before you could say, “diploma.”

It was almost anticlimactic.

I looked at the faces of the young men and women today and was very proud of them. I also felt the pride of the people in the stands who had helped them get to this day. I watched at the end as people hugged and posed for pictures. And as walked out of the gym to head home, I said “Godspeed” under my breath.

I hope they have a grand and joyous adventure.

About Marshall Ramsey