This is the time of year when high school seniors are preparing for graduation.
My own ceremony was some 41 years ago but I still remember so much about it. The first half of the ceremony was on the football field and the second half was inside the auditorium thanks to a Texas thunderstorm.
It was a time of hope for me and my forty-nine classmates. We were finally moving on to something bigger (and scarier). For some it would be college, for others the workforce. Even those who didn’t know WHAT they would do knew they would do SOMETHING. Life was moving on.
I was one of the speakers that night. I’m sure after 41 years I’m the only one who remembers a mnemonic I used in my speech. The mnemonic I used was LIFE: Live It Fully Everyday. (Then I said some other stuff that the principal didn’t like but that’s another story; one that more people remember than the mnemonic unfortunately.)
Living life fully everyday is difficult. Sometimes the world just beats you down so much that you need a pass for the day. Or the week. Maybe a year? But if you hear anything, hear the screams from the bleachers to ‘get up and keep going!’ Don’t allow the world to suck away your joy and purpose.
Graduation will not be happening in Uvalde, Texas this week. At last report, the school district had cancelled all activities following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary, including graduation. I can understand why. I’m certain the senior class feels cheated but I hope they will make this a springboard for change in themselves, their community, and the world. And that goes for all of us—we need to explore every possibility of bringing about societal changes that would prevent this from ever happening again. I beg you to think twice before sharing a social media post that distracts or stifles the conversations that must take place at a time like this.
Eight years from now, Uvalde High will be graduating a much smaller class. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles will undoubtedly mark the occasion with joy but for a large number there will be a numbness--the acknowledgement that someone special is missing from the celebration.
My heart aches for the families now. It breaks for them when the Class of 2030 takes the stage, and for all the other milestones that will forever be missed. God bless the Fourth Grade Class of Uvalde’s Robb Elementary (as well as their families).LIFE: Live It Fully Everyday (because you really never know).
I’m glad you remember that night. I vaguely remember going inside. I do remember my rank was exactly dead center of the class, talk about average. There was 70 of us if anyone wants to figure that out. Back then I still got into UT. My son had to be top 6% for automatic acceptance. Yes raising the step kids in this day and age is unsettling. My wife and I notice that kids are pretty much numb to the school shootings in the news, they have grown up with this being … the norm. Shooter drills in school … the norm. Our world in forty years has changed and needs fixing. I’m just glad there are still people out there that this upsets and bothers. If we can’t do something it will become … the norm. Much love to all my classmates and all affected by school violence.