The doors swing open and the graduates stream out. Some lean forward, their legs already pumping, their eyes focused on the horizon, on a distant goal. They are already out of here.
Some meander, not quite sure of which fork in the road to take. They are careful, thoughtful, keeping their options open. Some of the graduates hesitate, turn and look back at where they have been, sorry they are leaving.
The door slowly, gently, but firmly closes. There is nowhere to go but forward and up a long and winding road. There is a crowd gathered at the starting line of adulthood: teachers, administrators, parents, siblings, neighbors, peers, fellow employees, myriad dogs who have been at the graduates’ sides for years. They are waving, blowing kisses, crying, grinning with pride and urging the students forward, encouraging them to begin their trek into adult life.
After all the years of supporting the students, after showing them how to survive, how to fix things, how to harbor integrity and how to learn, the support system is easing up on the guidelines, letting go, urging them down the road.
Just do it, young adults. You are our future. Keep where you came from in your hearts. Remember the good stuff and grow stronger from the bad stuff.
Whether you go to college or technical school or join the labor force; whether you travel for awhile, sign up for the military, or volunteer at a home for the aging, a humane society or a school for the disabled, you will make the world a better place. Whatever you do is good as long as you move forward, care for others, believe in yourself, use your talent and remember there is a community up here in the hills that will pick you up, dust you off and help you on your way if you stumble.
We know you will change lives and change the world. That’s what we taught you do, one classroom, one project and one person at a time. We watched you when the light came on, when we knew you understood what you were meant to do.
We will miss every one of you and look forward to your visits. Maybe someday, you will return with your own children who will grow and learn and love in the mountains.
It’s all a community can hope for.