On Friday night, the Montpelier High School Class of 2017 paid their final visit to the school they've called home for the last four years. They entered the gymnasium as students and left as alumni. It was a fitting tribute to a class of talented and gifted individuals, who sang, danced and orated that night the way they sang, danced, and orated while they matriculated through our high school.
I had the best seat in the house - sitting on stage, alongside Mike McRaith and Michele Braun (the high school principal and Board Chair). I was able to see the delight and pride in the eyes of family and friends as the graduates walked in. I was able to see their eyes shine, at time with tears of joy and at time with tears of sadness, throughout the night. The iPhones and cameras were held aloft as people scrambled in front to capture the perfect moment: while walking in, while speaking at the podium, while mid-dance step, while singing, while receiving their diploma, while walking out.
A few weeks earlier, I was invited to a similar ceremony in a classroom at Union Elementary School. Once again, there were parents with cameras and tears, students who entered the classroom as members of one cohort, only to leave as another, and a group of teachers reading about accomplishments and handing something to their students. And again, I had the perfect vantage point to witness all that. That day, we celebrated pre-kindergarten students completing their year together.
Such similar emotions for families fourteen or fifteen years away from high school graduation. This week, I will again have the opportunity to witness a moving up ceremony and a middle school graduation. I will be in the presence of the culmination of emotions for families and teachers as they pause to honor the students who have been a part of their lives. It is bittersweet as we recognize the people who have walked alongside and will remain behind while students move ahead to the next educational level.
Congratulations to the MHS Class of 2017, the Eighth Graders from MSMS graduating and the Fourth Graders from UES moving up this week. Know how proud we are of all of you!
Last Friday night, I watched a mom and a dad fight back tears while their son spoke articulately and beautifully from the podium. I cannot imagine the feelings of pride they must have had, while they replayed in their heads (I'm guessing) the first eighteen years of this young man's life. I wondered how I will feel the nights Our Sons graduate from high school and what will be running through my head when I see them walk down the aisle, receive their diplomas, and walk out of the ceremony as alumni.
I wonder who will have the best seat in the house.