When your senior is about to graduate, your heart aches for the years past. Transitions are always hard for me, but on graduation, I don’t want to be sad…
Parents of high school seniors, what a surreal place we find ourselves in. But, you are not alone, we are in a club.
As a mom of a senior, I’m not ready for all of the “lasts.” My heart hurts. But, it’s not for negative reasons. Read on…
(Inside: Graduation sentiments for the class of 2020. Why the class of 2020’s graduation celebration was extra amazing.)
I wondered if the socially distanced graduation would be special enough for our cherished class of 2020.
As a teacher, I love working high school graduation. The walking across the stage, the mid-shake-pause-and-smile for the camera, the speeches, the music, the sea of family members, the energy of pride and hope – graduation always feels sacred.
Of all the things the class of 2020 lost in the end-of-the year-pandemic-let-down (spring activities and prom and moments together), I mourned their loss of graduation the most.
When I heard that the high school where I teach was going to host a graduation processional, all I thought was is that special enough for these remarkable young people?
Cars and signs and balloons and seniors – the parade happened.
A week later, I find myself thinking back to this event, trying to engrave memories permanently in my brain. It was so special – way more than I could have ever imagined. This is what I always want to remember…
I want to remember what the entrance to the path the seniors followed through the school grounds looked like.
Hundreds of professionally-made signs, one for each senior, boasted the school emblem and a congratulations message with the senior’s name. In neat rows, the sheer number looked impressive and beautifully greeted our seniors.
I want to remember the hundred-plus school staff lined up.
Our clothes flashed the school colors, we waved pom-poms, we held clever signs (math department: Good luck and “calc – u – later”), balloons shimmered, a dry-ice concoction created fog (thank you, science department), and we clapped noise-makers. There were smiles, laughter, cheering, and so much love.
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I want to remember the look of our seniors’ faces.
Big eyes became liquid eyes as the staff cheered “Congratulations,” “We’re so proud of you!”, “We’ll miss you!”, “Come back and visit us!”
I want to remember how many cars were transformed into float-like creations.
The doors boasted senior pictures and words like “University of Minnesota bound” and “I’m 2020% done!” There were streamers and balloons and a giant paper-mache graduation cap riding on the top of one vehicle.
I want to remember our seniors in all of their glory.
Some sitting on the passenger windows, perching on the back of convertibles, championing bucket seats behind open van doors, standing through sunroofs (one playing her sax), commanding armchairs in the back of trucks, or towering in a sky-high semi cab. (Yes, everyone, lift those seniors up!)
I want to remember the long line of family cars behind the one showcasing the seniors
Smiley grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. (“Congrats, families! We’ll miss you too!”)
I want to remember all of the recording phones.
Multiple phones in one car capturing it all, it felt like no one wanted to miss a moment.
I want to remember the students who went through the line three, four or more times
to wave again and again because we all wanted to linger
I want to remember the moms who got out of their cars
and from a coronavirus-safe distance videoed the parade from a new angle, snapped pictures of the teachers, and offered kind words to the staff.
I want to remember how beautiful our seniors looked
beaming in their cap and gowns.
I want to remember how good it felt for all of us to see each other.
Students, parents, families, teachers, administrators – our faces lit up, our hearts celebrated just by being in the same place.
Every graduation is special. But there was something extra beautiful about a community that came together after being apart for so long.
I worried the class of 2020 wouldn’t get enough; instead, I felt like they got more –
Of all the graduations I’ve worked, the graduation celebration for the class of 2020 has been my favorite.
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Graduation sentiments for the class of 2020
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.