Yesterday I decided to attend Palmyra High School’s graduation. We’ve been in Palmyra for fourteen years, and this was the first graduating glass in which we knew a good number of those who were receiving diplomas. A good number even attended our youth group during their elementary and middle school years, so seeing them making this transition was important.
I’d been dithering about going much of the day, but in the end I grabbed my camera 1 and headed over to the stadium with my wife and daughter. I grabbed a seat with some friends and waited for the ceremony to begin.
It was strange.
A few years earlier, these kids were gangly little ramrods I had to keep from jumping on the youth room furniture. Now they were passing through a rite of passage which marked the end of the vestiges of their childhoods. As I watched these young adults give speeches, receive awards, and accept their High School Diplomas I saw the curtain begin to draw shut on my family’s “first act” in Palmyra. Next year that curtain will draw to a complete close, when my eldest will be crossing the field to receive her own diploma. It’s difficult to fathom.
Palmyra is a small school, which make the ceremony feel “homey 2.” Shouts of encouragement from the crowd caused a lot of chuckles, and shouts of “I love you” from excited mothers drew empathetic “awwwwsss” from the assembled. This close familiarity reflected back to the crowd from the graduates. At the close of the ceremony, when the class was invited to stand to change the position of their tassels, one student was aghast the crowd didn’t stand with them. So he did his best to get everyone on their feet, to the joy of all. You can’t do things like that in a larger school, and the freedom to stand out is part of what makes Palmyra High School Unique.
Perhaps the most wonderful portion of the night was seeing one of my friends, who happens to be on Palmyra’s Borough Council, at the front of the line to hand her daughter her diploma. It was a beautiful moment, and I happened to be in a terrific location to capture it in a photo.