Welcome to the family, class of 2014
It has been a few years since I’ve sat through an entire high school graduation.
Obviously, there was my own. Then I covered it for many years for the paper. But over the past couple of years I have not been the one on the field taking pictures because; well, if you can avoid that boredom then why wouldn’t you?
Before I’m accused of degrading about 350 students’ accomplishments, let me be clear, the ceremony itself is very important and an experience that everyone should have. But I find it hard to believe that if we are being honest anyone will admit to really getting a thrill out of hearing 350 names called one. at. a. time.
But I was at graduation Friday covering for the paper (story on page 1A, photos on 1A and 2A and video online) and found myself paying more attention to the words and the actions of the speakers – both graduates and administration.
In years past, I would need to really hold my head up – much like I used to do in class, actually – but this year I found each opinion and each speech to carry its own merit. Some statements I agreed with and others I didn’t, but I appreciated everyone’s opinion.
Perhaps that is something that comes more with age. Then, as ceremonies were winding down, I realized that it was exactly 10 years ago that I was sitting among the 300-something-strong student body waiting on my name to be called.
Has it really been 10 years? Then again, to many of you, that makes me seem really young. (Not that I’m calling you old). But to me, it is an official mark of a new era. Once you reach the 10-year mark, I think then you are pretty much into life after childhood.
A sense of pride overcame me as I watched the class of 2014 shake hands and wave to the crowd one by one. Even though it was 10 years ago for me and even longer (or shorter) for some of you since you walked the line at Central High School, we are really one big family. We have all been there (for the most part) and we all know what it is like to survive the four years of high school – the good and the bad.
As I watched I didn’t find myself missing high school. Actually, I don’t miss it at all. Who would miss awkward adolescence, mean peers, school work and school lunches? I, for one, have a beautiful wife who I sat directly behind in Algebra for an entire year but was too shy and stupid to talk to her then and had to wait about seven more years to get her. What a waste. (So no, I don’t miss it). But while I don’t miss it, I do remember it. And Friday I did find myself with a sense of pride for many students I don’t even know.
They, along with every other class at CHS, are Coffee County family now.
Welcome to the family, class of 2014.
-Josh Peterson is the editor of the Manchester Times. He is a Tennessee Press Association award-winning writer and photographer. His column, “From the editor’s desk” won TPA first-place honors for best personal humor column. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 931-728-7577 ext. 105. Click here to follow him on Twitter @joshpeterson29