June 2, 2000, is a day that I will never forget.  It’s hard to believe that it was10 years ago.

I planned for graduation day, yet nothing prepared me for the lump that formed in my throat when I heard Pomp & Circumstance and knew it was playing for me.  I donned the royal blue cap and gown, the yellow ropes (signifying academic honors diploma) the medals clanking around my neck with each step.  I had worked 13 years (K-12) for that moment.

We processed in by height, so (naturally) I was near the end of the line.  I vividly remember standing in the hallway, waiting for my turn to walk into the gym.  I stared at the pictures of former athletes and students in the trophy case.  I’m going to be one of them…one of the past ones…an alumni from this moment forward.

So many memories flashed through my head of my years in those hallways.  Being scared to death as a 7th grader that I would get lost – or beaten up.  Hitting my head on the floor (after being clotheslined by a boy’s legs who was picked up and swung during a fight) in 8th grade causing a concussion.  Talking for hours on end to the lockers as I practiced my oratorical interpretation during speech team practice. 

97 received diplomas that night.  And I have kept in touch with a total of 1 of them.  Sure, I’m “friends on facebook” with nearly all of my graduating class (that’s another post for another day), but for the most part we’ve gone our separate ways.  And that’s okay… we’re not the same people we were so many years ago.

The pinnacle of the night – for me – was reciting my Salutatorian speech.  I’m passionate about public speaking anyway, but that moment was one I desired and worked so hard for.  I wanted it so badly.  And I achieved it.  Good for me.  There’s something to be said about setting and achieving goals.  Yet, looking back now, I can’t help but question if it was worth it.  Was my moment of glory – and the title – worth the hours and hours of studying, the tears over an unsatisfactory test grade, the stress I put on myself…all to say that I was the salutatorian of my graduating class?  At the end of the day, we all got the same diploma.  Mine just had an extra sticker on it.  And it remains to this day in a box, where no one sees it.

If I’m being honest, I don’t think about my high school days too often.  As a general rule, I try to not live in the past.  But graduation day is one I look back on fondly and remember every year when June 2 comes around.


~ by Serena on June 2, 2010.

2 Responses to “Graduation”

  1. Beautiful Serena!

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