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June 17, 2019

6/5/2019 10:59:00 PM
Graduation, again

The Earth has made another full revolution around the sun. The first Thursday in June is again before us. La Conner’s high school seniors, school faculty and staff, parents, family and friends will come to campus for the 7 p.m. graduation ceremony. Excitement will be universal.
The graduates will have a lot on their minds. Immediately that evening and this weekend there are parties, family gatherings, eating out. Graduates will certainly have peer-to-peer check ins and adventures, planned and unplanned.
The gift of youth might be the greatest gift of all. Ah, to be brimming with hope, the vitality of life and the certainty of righteousness. Not everyone is that way, or has opportunity, but in our little corner of the world more are energetic and optimistic than not.
Whatever summer jobs and schooling they have, there will be college, work, the military, maybe travel or service for their post high school choices. While they go into a somewhat known future with hopes of controlling their destiny, much is unknown and perhaps the greatest adventure and surprise of adulthood is learning how little is or can be controlled.
There are many unknown unknowns, as Donald Rumsfeld said about Iraq 15-plus years ago. Today, there and around the world, uncertainty still rules. Run through the alphabet, from Afghanistan to Virginia. These high schoolers are not facing any surprises. They have had too good schooling and have too smart of parents for that.
The world they are starting to step into is not much different than what the 2018 graduating class moved into it. It will not be much different for the juniors advancing to the senior class and graduating a year from now.
Besides youthful enthusiasm, they have smarts on their side. They have to have hope, not because they are young, but because next year, over the next ten years, they will be making the world theirs.
“Hope is the Thing with Feathers” wrote the poet Emily Dickenson. Hope deferred can become “like a raisin in the sun” wrote the poet Langston Hughes. Hope is defined anew and created anew by the individuals in each new graduating class. But whether hope fledges or festers like a sore and then runs, as Hughes’ line ends, is dependent on time and many factors.
The attention and support of adults, our willingness to listen and change and even get out of the way, is among them.
When our status quo is questioned by the young, engagement and not incredulousness will better serve all parties.

Related Links:
• Ken Stern

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