These have been difficult times for all of us, but particularly for our young people, who have sacrificed so many of their rites of passage to the demands of the pandemic during these past two years.
For older people such as ourselves, some of what we’ve lost — such as a vacation or similar — have only been postponed. We can make them up later.
But for our young people of high school and college age, their once-in-a-lifetime experiences, ranging from sports and extracurriculars, to class trips, to proms, to graduation days, either were canceled altogether or conducted in a truncated form.
We are only now beginning to recognize and understand the significant psychological and emotional impacts, not to mention the lost learning time and lack of contact with friends, that the pandemic has wrought upon this generation. The experts tell us that those adverse impacts will last well beyond the end of the pandemic (whenever that may be).
Still, life goes on, and it is with great pleasure and relief to see that the graduates of the Class of 2022 have been able to resume their lives to a level of near-normalcy, especially during this graduation season.
Graduation is a bittersweet time, both for the grads and their family members.
For the parents who will be watching their sons and daughters step to the podium when their name is called, no doubt they will be thinking of how fast time has gone by since they first brought their child by the hand to pre-school and kindergarten.
Such moments bring to mind the sentiments expressed in the lyrics of the song, Sunrise, Sunset, from the musical Fiddler on the Roof:
Is this the little girl I carried
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears
A high school graduation is a singular event in the life of every community, where almost everybody knows one of the graduates or their families. All of us share the happiness and sense of achievement of our young people who will be receiving their diplomas. And for all of us, a high school graduation brings back our own fond memories from our long-gone youth.
For the grads, their high school graduation marks both an end and a beginning. The grads no longer are children, either in the eyes of the law or in reality. They are full-fledged adults who will be leaving the sheltered harbor, where they have been protected from the full fury of life’s storms and vicissitudes by their families and teachers, and embarking on a journey which none of them will be able to anticipate, but which will be full of surprises, both joyful and tearful.
We congratulate the Class of 2022 for all of the accomplishments that have earned them the right to step onto that podium to receive their diplomas.
We know we join with all of the members of our community in wishing them fair weather, both for their Graduation Day and in the years ahead.