For dozens of kids at Philipsburg-Osceola, “kid” is about to be a label left behind. They are about to leave high school, to enter the world of grown-ups and stop being children.
Last week, some of them concluded their studies at Clearfield County Career and Technology Center.
On Monday, they gathered for their awards ceremony. Scholarships were announced, honors listed, prizes given to amazed students, some of whom did not even know they were being heralded with awards they didn’t know existed.
On Wednesday, they shared a final meal together, their senior banquet. It is an opportunity for the Class of 2014 to enjoy a moment together, to appreciate their goodbye and their transition to something new.
Thursday is for practice. The graduates hope to receive their diplomas at Memorial Field, but the weather doesn’t always cooperate. The Class of 1989 was supposed to graduate there, too. Philipsburg-Osceola Senior High School Principal Robin Stewart will make the call about just what happens where for them, just like she did for my classmates. Not that I’m still bitter or anything.
But when Friday night comes, and the class crosses the floor of the overheated, overcrowded auditorium or walks across the green grass of the football field that might be drenched in rain at any moment, honestly, it won’t matter. Later, they may grumble. In that moment, however, all that will matter is the simple act of bringing childhood to a close, and doing so in the company of the family that raised you, the teachers that guided you, and the classmates, for good or ill, that shared the journey along the way. Like brothers or sisters, they are the only ones who will ever really understand the inside jokes, the exasperated groans, the triumphant “I did it!” moments.
My class celebrates 25 years since we ended our tenure in the hallowed halls of P-O this year. I encourage the Class of 2014 to learn the lesson that I did after graduation. Look at the people in the caps and gowns around you. Some of you will be gone far sooner than you expect. Some of you will find so much more in common after school is over than you ever did sitting next to each other in chemistry. Some will become memories, some touchstones, some rocks of support.
You will always be Mounties. You will always be linked together. Graduation is just the start of a new learning experience. Take notes.