Column: Pondering on my graduation

Published 3:57 pm Monday, June 10, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

Despite the ensuing chaos after hearing the final words of our high school commencement and tossing our caps in the air, I spotted my closest friends in the whirlwind of my classmates celebrating.

I was able to narrow in on my friend, whom I’d known since second grade, as well as the others in my inner circle and I remember hugging them—a gesture you typically won’t see me engage in. It was a victorious, bittersweet and melancholic feeling to know in the moment of celebration that all those years of hard work had paid off, but even more so, to know that it was all over.

I’d known several other members of the 103rd graduating class of Shelby County High School since first grade—a time in which I’d made a profitable habit of selling my lunch to them. Others I met along the way, including that pivotal moment in sixth grade when all of the elementary school students from Elvin Hill, Wilsonville and Shelby combined into one class.

Despite our quarrels, drama and other teenage contrivances, we went through a lot together and once those caps went into the air—all of those miscellaneous issues no longer mattered. Now, when we run into each other in the grocery store and give a nod, it’s a subtle acknowledgement of our history and the fact that who we were in high school no longer matters. Many of us have changed, reinvented ourselves or found ourselves during the past seven years since graduation.

Now, after five years of college and almost two years of working at the Shelby County Reporter, I couldn’t help but dwell on my own experiences while watching class after class of graduates throw their caps in the same fashion this year.

Each member of the class of 2024 will embark on their own journeys as they go out into the world and the join the rest of us. As time goes by, the small details of everyday life in high school will matter less and less while the memories they made with friends will stand out all the more.

Congratulations class of 2024! You have completed a major milestone in life and have officially entered into adulthood. As you proceed forward, whether it’s to a university, trade school or straight into the workforce, I hope you will continue to grow, learn and keep an open mind. I’ve learned so much about every facet of life since finishing high school and college and I expect to continue to do so.

Perhaps years later, when you attend the graduation of a child, friend or family member, you’ll have the very same wistful feeling. If so, I believe it’s a sign that you’ve continued to grow and learn—an aspect we all share in this world as eternal students who never stop learning.