Graduates need to realize this is just part one

Published 8:04 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I don’t consider myself old by any means. Yes, I would concede I have some experience, a few grey hairs, but not old. But, each time I attend a high school graduation, which I will again do this week; it occurs to me that yet another year has been scratched off a calendar.

It is strange for me to use a high school graduation as a marker rather than a birthday, but for some reason, this moment in life is something I often flash back to.

Yes, whenever we receive pictures and notices about local residents organizing their 50th or 60th class anniversary, I immediately feel much younger, but I am inching ever closer to a potential 20th class reunion.

In just three years, the Robertsdale High School class of 1992 will be in position to mark the 20th anniversary of our graduation. In the school’s remarkable 100-plus year history, the graduation of this particular class was nothing special. It was a graduation held in May just like dozens and dozens held before.

And, to be honest, I don’t even think I could name those in the top ten of our class, or what our class colors were. I don’t even think I could tell you the fellow graduates I was sitting beside during the ceremony.

There was even a joke amongst many of us in that class, that our reunions would be held at Holman Prison (Alabama State Penitentiary in Atmore).

Considering the senior prank 14 of us pulled prior to graduation, it’s a wonder that businesses have continued to hire us for positions of responsibility. Then again, we felt the wall in the school courtyard needed a fresh coat of paint – or at least something to remember our class by.

But, the feeling I had when receiving my diploma and the emotion I felt upon completion of that part of my life remains with me still. It was a great accomplishment yes, but it was not my last.

And that is what I want to pass on to today’s graduates. This is not the end of your tasks, your accomplishments to be completed.

The diploma you receive is simply the first step, a starting point to see what you do with it now. You will be critiqued on the things you will accomplish from this point on.

Graduating high school is a phenomenal moment in your lives, graduates, but now let’s see what you do with it.

– Tim Reeves is editor and general manager of The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Wednesday.