Tonight is graduation night for the Class of 2014 at HHS.

Even though graduation for a school the size of ours is long, I really enjoy sitting through it.  I get a little inkling of the feeling I had on that day of celebration 13 years ago from high school (holy crap) and 8 years ago from college.  I get nostalgic, but there is no one there who went through my ceremonies with me, so instead I focus on the kids.

I love to hear the valedictorian reminisce about the four years they’ve spent together working towards this achievement.  And it’s even more exciting when you know the valedictorian (yay debate team!– valedictorians for two years running!)  I love to see all of the anxious, smiling faces and the proud parents.  I love when the kids excitingly wave to you in silent “thanks” for helping them along the way.   Despite the 1 1/2 – 2 hour long ceremony and the never-ending list of names, I enjoy it.  It’s fun to bond with my colleagues and share in the excitement of my students.

Afterwards, we usually head out downtown for one last hurrah.  It’s like the end-of-year stress reliever for us.  We can finally say, “it’s done” even though most of us have more to do tomorrow.  We share stories, complains, and summer plans.  We wonder about the futures of the kids we’ve just sent off into the world.

This time of year makes me thankful and excited and ready.  I’m ready to start thinking about next year (but I might take a weekend break first), I’m ready to have more barn time, more time with my husband and dogs, and ready to breathe for a bit.  I’m ready to sleep without waking up thinking about a student or essay.  I’m ready to take some time to make plans, visit my family in Michigan, and relax on a beach in St. Lucia.  And then I’ll be ready to do it all over again.

Graduation is a time of reflection and readiness.  Kids are ready for the next step; they’re excited to start their next journey.  Teachers and administrators are ready to take some time to gather themselves, relax, and start over.  With a clean slate.  With a new “to do” list. With big ideas they want to see happening in their classrooms and schools.  So, on this or any other graduation day, take some time to reflect.

Then, get ready.

Congratulations, class of 2014! Go into the world and be AWESOME.  🙂

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