I don’t have good memories of my graduations. I was one of 428 in high school and sat between two guys I’d never seen before. I graduated from college in January and didn’t return for the June ceremony. My friends tell me the speaker was a famous physicist and they didn’t understand a word he said after, “Congratulations.” Nor did I attend the HUGE ceremony when I received my master’s from the University of Louisville. However, I promised I’d attend after I earned my M.Div. in a class of thirty. Unfortunately, because I’d taken my classes mostly in the summer to complete the degree, no one recognized me in the pictures of the class and identified me as Hilda someone.
However, I’ve attended many more. As a high school teacher, I always felt graduation was a celebration of attainment, meeting the goal. Many time, I was one of many in the audience. In Fort Bend County, TX, I always volunteered to escort the class forward. In other schools, attendance by faculty was required but, again, I never minded that–well, except for the times it was held on the football field and we processed in over wet soil and were attacked by flying insects as well as various pollens that had us scratching and sneezing.
But with every one of those, I felt such pride, both in the completion of all those years of study and in the awareness that young people I’d taught were going out into the world, speaking fluent Spanish, I hoped, or perhaps that they’d find a use for the language.
So to all those who graduated, from Rogene and Becky to Sam and Luke and today to Jon, congratulation and Godspeed.