Editorial: Remember all the people behind every graduate
It's high school graduation season again. But for the people to whom it matters most, there's no "again" about it.
This is a great time of year for our communities, albeit bittersweet, as children cross into adulthood — signified by a scroll of paper, a walk across a stage, a turn of the tassel and a toss of the cap.
Boil away all the "Pomp and Circumstance" for a moment. Forget the gowns, forget the speeches, forget the bagpipes.
For these young people and their families, this is an indelible moment in time. There will be more milestones to come, but this is the one that marks childhood's end and the advent of new freedoms, new responsibilities and new possibilities.
We raised them to get to here, with all the knowledge and wisdom we can impart, and where they go next is up to them.
Many will stay, making their own mark on the community, continuing to learn and grow as they take on new challenges and life experiences. Others will leave — some for a little while, some for good — and carry what they've learned to new places.
We hope we, the community, have equipped them with the tools to improve wherever it is they go.
Raising a child is hard work, and as the axiom goes, it takes a village. In this season of graduation, we should celebrate the young people who have worked for this moment — but we should also take some time to appreciate those who have guided them to this point.
Let's hear it for the teachers. Every September, they take on a daunting task: Over the next nine months, it is their solemn duty to get every student in their care to learn what they're supposed to learn, whether it's chemistry or calculus or anything else. Increasing class sizes and decreasing instructional supports have only made that job harder. Every June, the students they have taught move on to the next level, and every September the cycle begins again.
Let's hear it for the coaches. Many of life's most important lessons are learned on the field of play. Sometimes it's a basketball court, sometimes a football field, sometimes a tennis court, sometimes a baseball or softball diamond, sometimes a track, sometimes a golf course, sometimes a swimming pool, sometimes an ice rink, sometimes a lacrosse field. These sports have three things in common: intense competition, hard and sometimes painful work and coaches who are there to help their athletes get the most out of themselves. Every athlete struggles. But there's a reason just about every single one, as you've read in our sports pages, thanks their coaches when they earn the awards and scholarships that will take them to the next level.
Let's hear it for the pastors, rabbis and other faith leaders. While not every child is raised with religion, for many, it's a vital part of their life. Faith gives people a lens through which to see the world and a compass to guide them through it. Ministers can be teacher and coach in one. Their role is not just to answer questions of faith, but to equip their flock to search for the answers themselves. For young people searching for their place in the world, a spiritual leader can provide guidance and clarity.
Let's hear it for the scoutmasters, troop leaders and camp counselors. Not every lesson is learned in an academic setting. The hands-on experience of scouting, summer camp and other activities can have a tremendous effect on a young person's ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations, confront challenges and step up and lead. But more important than any activity are the examples to whom they look. Eventually, affirmation will come from within. They will be the leaders. But it's the affirmation they get and the leadership they follow as they grow that will lift them as they spread their wings and leave the nest.
And, of course, let's hear it for the parents, grandparents, guardians, godparents, aunts, uncles and older siblings. These are the most sacrosanct bonds of them all. They're the first role models to whom young people look. They're with them every step of the way. Their love is unconditional and their commitment is absolute. And as painful as it is to let go, they can be proud of the adults they've raised. They have more lessons to teach, more guidance to give and more good times and hard times to have with their grads. Their covenant is lifelong. This is the end of one chapter, but it's the start of the rest of a book that's being written.
Three cheers for the Banks Braves Class of 2019. Three cheers for the Hillsboro Spartans Class of 2019. Three cheers for the Forest Grove Vikings Class of 2019. Three cheers for the Glencoe Crimson Tide Class of 2019. Three cheers for the Century Jaguars Class of 2019. Three cheers for the Gaston Greyhounds Class of 2019. Three cheers for the Liberty Falcons Class of 2019. Three cheers for the Vernonia Loggers Class of 2019.
And for every adult who had a hand in their achievement — these cheers are for you, too.