By: Mr. Lu
On a blindingly June day last year, with blue skies overhead and the warmth of sunshine drenched over me, I walked slowly away from the Chan Centre. Behind me, the sound of calm laughter and jazz music permeated as graduates and parents took pictures, younger siblings attacked food plates, and the feelings of relief, joy, and melancholy washed over. I turned, and paused briefly. It was a good year, and it was time to go home.
Life, it seems, is lived in cycles and seasons and ebbs and flows; even more so in schools. We finish one season and start another. People walk in and out of our lives. We live here, we live there. Good things and bad things happen, and good things and bad things stop happening. Milestone celebrations and sad moments dot this uncertain landscape. When I attended the alumni reunion, this was more evident than ever, as I heard the “whatever happened to” stories of grown men and women, each at different points of a cycle.
I’ve often told grads we overstate the importance of the decisions they make now. You can change your mind about what to study and what to do as many times as you want after you leave. You are currently in a grad class of about eighty students, and you will most likely be in an incoming college class of over a thousand. You’ll have new experiences, gain new perspectives, and meet new people. You may meet someone who becomes a lifelong friend – or a spouse. You’ll change. You won’t be stagnant.
It’s been said the most important gifts parents should give their children are roots and wings. It’s true for schools too. For some, the roots are thin and reedy. A new season beckons, the old one is over, never to be seen again. For some, this is a good thing, for there is finality and an end to high school. We appreciate you. Go fly. And, when you reach a quiet moment, maybe think about us just a little.
For others, your roots may be thicker and deeper, nostalgia tinged and heart spoken. The season changes, but the memories hold fast and cling true. Yes, visit us. Let’s reminisce and laugh, but come share your new season, and come teach us about what you’ve learned and what you’ve become and what more you hope to be and do. Then fly once more, while launching off these sturdy and unbroken roots. We will be here. We will be waiting.
This June, I hope it will be a sunny day at the Chan Centre. I hope it will be a good ceremony. I hope we will laugh much, and maybe cry a little. I hope those feelings of joy and unfettered optimism wash over all of us.
I do know this.
It will be a good day. And when it’s over, it will be time to go home.