There’s something to be said for that annual rite of passage we call graduation.
Sure, the ceremonies might be a bit tedious at times — who really wants to sit through 45 minutes of local businesses and organizations handing out bursaries and scholarships? — but there’s enough passion about the evening to bring a tear or two to the eyes of even those of us who don’t have youngsters amid the procession.
And so it was Thursday evening as Osoyoos Secondary School celebrated the graduation of 34 Grade 12 students — each ready to step away from the classroom and tackle new adventures.
There were the usual words of encouragement — seasoned with quotes from our more accomplished humans — a peripheral view of school life shared amid inside jokes compiled by student historians and words of gratitude to parents, teachers, administrators and other students.
Instructor Steve Schulting, it seems, is quite the math whiz and administrators Scott Tremblay and Brad Burns are overburdened with patience.
(The otherwise stoic principal also does a mean Darth Vader impression.)
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not,” suggested Mayor Sue McKortoff, quoting Dr. Seuss, as she brought greetings from the Town of Osoyoos. Trustee Brenda Dorosz added her own memories from a graduation years past.
But it was Sarah Gilchrist who maybe tied everything together as she talked to grads about entering “that really long and undefined and somewhat nebulous section called adulthood.”
“You’re going to fail. You cannot escape it. It’s gonna happen,” she said, adding there wasn’t an adult attending who hadn’t experienced failure in their lives.
It was a tempered vision of the realities life will hold for those who to this point have been protected within a community nest. Out these fledglings go, with lift to their wings but also with the bumps and bruises of likely more than one crash landing awaiting them.
But it came with a promise: failure is temporary if we just picks ourselves up and try again.
“There are only two ways to live your life: one if though nothing is a miracle, the other if though everything is,” concluded Mayor McKortoff, this time quoting Albert Einstein.
The reality is that we’ve survived, we still believe in miracles — even if it’s just the occasional miracle — and, most important of all, we didn’t get in our children’s way to sufficiently dash their dreams.
For a few moments Thursday evening we vicariously — through our grads — returned to our younger days and perhaps recaptured the wonderment we experienced as we fluttered into adulthood.
I’ll save the parting worlds for valedictorians Simrat Sekhon and Vaneet Chawla.
“Today we say goodbye to everything that was familiar, everything that was comfortable,” said Miss Sekhon. “Today we are high school graduates.”
“The home of the Rattlers is also the home of tomorrow’s doctors and lawyers, teachers and psychologists, musicians and engineers and architects and nurses,” added Mr. Chawla.
Congratulations, Grads. Go find your way, make a career, build a family and craft a world that improves on what your parents delivered to you.
Above all else, never forget to care a whole awful lot. And always pick yourself up whenever you fall.