Graduation is about the students

Published 10:34 am Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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Graduation season is upon us. Scholars throughout the area can be spotted donning caps, gowns and stoles as they celebrate completing academic requirements; proud parents, families and friends are honoring loved ones for their achievements; and important, influential people encourage graduates in keynote addresses that are delivered to offer hope and a charge for the future.

It’s a feel-good, empowering time.

High school graduation is the finish line for one of life’s ultimate marathons. In between all the fun times with friends and  joys of youth and the inspirations and revelations and growth, school is a test of one’s endurance.

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For 13 years, from the first day of kindergarten through the final day of their senior year, students’ brains are peppered with millions of facts. 

They’ve taken hundreds of quizzes and tests. They’ve sat through hours of high-pressure exams. They’ve endured gym class and peer pressure and bullying and sexual issues.

Many have gone to school hungry and reeling from the effects of difficult home lives. They’ve dealt with the challenges of keeping up their grades while trying to have a social life. And they’ve faced the uncertainty of their impending adult future. Oh, and let’s throw in growing up, which sometimes produces growing pains that often are difficult to maneuver.

High school graduation is the prize for breaking the tape.

Merriam-Webster defines the verb “graduate” as: “to pass from one stage of experience, proficiency, or prestige to a usually higher one.”  

Locally, graduates from Elizabethton High and Carter County high schools will celebrate the completion of their studies this weekend and will begin making plans to begin the next stage of their life. After completing the tasks, gaining the skills and getting the rewards, graduates are expected to take those lessons and implement them in the next chapter of their lives. Whether it be advancing to the next grade, getting a new job or promotion, completing a task or goal, or simply finishing that thick book you’ve been working to get through, congratulations.

High school graduation is an accomplishment – one in which students and their families can be proud. It’s the start of their next phase of the graduate’s life. What that future holds will be as varied as the graduating seniors themselves. It could mean they immediately enter the work force and become productive citizens. It could mean serving their country by joining the military or serving their communities by becoming police officers, deputies and firefighters.

For many, the future means continuing their education through community college or four-year college.

Regardless of what course they take, graduating from high school is an accomplishment – one in which students and their families can be proud.

It’s been a long journey to get to this point. Each milestone that has been passed is a great accomplishment. We hope all of the new graduates look back fondly on the journey that brought them to this point and look ahead with anticipation to what is in front of them.

Whatever course they choose, we wish the graduates of 2024 the best of luck. Keep striving to succeed. Don’t settle for anything less than your best, and don’t let anyone try to force anything but the best on you.

Remember this: Graduation from high school isn’t the end. It’s the beginning of a new phase of your lives. After all, don’t forget that graduation ceremonies also are called commencements. So, go out and commence with the next phase of your lives.