Friday evening, a bunch of jubilant Crook County High School seniors threw their graduation caps high into the air, celebrating the conclusion of a nearly lifetime educational grind.
The crowd of families and friends roared in approval and later made their way down onto the Ward Rhoden Stadium lawn, not unlike fans rushing the field after a big victory.
The Crook County School District turned another page in its long book that night, and though the fanfare is not as significant perhaps, it will similarly turn pages as eighth graders celebrate completion of middle school on Tuesday and fifth-graders likewise say goodbye to elementary school education.
The seniors, no doubt, feel relief. They made it! It's finally over!
Only it's not over. Older and more life-experienced families and friends know it's not over by a longshot. It's just time for the next page of the book. Some move onto college, some to trade schools, others to military service and some will enter the workforce. Many will someday get married and start families as they embark on careers that sometimes end up in transition as well.
Much like the fifth-grader that is finally done with elementary school or the eighth-grader that finally completed middle school, a new challenge awaits the seniors who cheered, celebrated and exhaled Friday evening. And other challenges will follow those.
Congratulations to the Crook County High School seniors. Enjoy this moment. You earned it. And hopefully, you have learned from it. Hopefully, you have picked up valuable lessons in perseverance, how to embrace and overcome the challenges that life throws at us, and how to come out the other side successful — celebrating just like you did Friday evening.
While the public education process is certainly intended to teach children the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, and about science, history, economics and more, it also teaches us how to be successful citizens. Lessons in the value of hard work, overcoming obstacles and achieving lofty goals play a significant role in that educational process. And in the same way that students need to retain the academic knowledge they gained during their school years, they need to hold onto to the other lessons they learned on how to succeed in life, the most rigorous and longest-lasting school of all.
Enjoy the moment, graduates. It's time to celebrate. Hopefully, it is the most recent of many more celebratory moments that you enjoy throughout a long and successful life.
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