The moment I had waited months for finally arrived. Twelve years of public school, finished and I all I can say is “wow”. High school graduation may not seem like a big deal to some, but I can honestly say that for me, graduating was a pivotal moment in the journey that I am embarking on.
The whole night feels like a blur, but the emotions I felt continue to linger in my heart nearly a week later. I got to walk along side the people that have seen me through the many ups and downs of high school. We held hands as we looked up into a crowd of people who looked upon us with tear filled eyes and proud hearts. I took my seat, listened to speeches from students who had very different high school experiences than I did; however, for maybe the first time in four years, I did not feel so disconnected. Different experience led us together for one last moment before we part for good. In the blink of an eye, I was crossing the stage, moving my tassel and throwing my hat in the air.
I made it through high school.
As I stood on the field, excited to share this moment, I looked around for my family. Finally, I saw a familiar face. One of my managers spotted me and came over to congratulate me. Little did I know that I would turn around to see a sea of my coworkers running towards me. Their arms carried flowers, gifts and hugs. Overwhelmed with the love and support they continually bring into my life, tears filled my eyes for the first time that night.
Once my family found me, I got to share the same experience once again. I saw my older siblings and remembered the times I took pictures with them at their graduations. Then I looked at my little sister and felt immense excitement to one day take a photo with her at her high school graduation. I saw my parents and I thought about the nights my dad spent helping with projects and the time my mom gave up to volunteer in my classrooms, just to ensure that my teachers have the proper resources to best serve not only me, but my classmates as well.
My graduation festivities ended with a party, where I was once again overwhelmed with love from family and friends. It is very difficult to put into words how grateful I am for the experiences high school provided, but it is even more difficult for me to express how excited I am to see what doors will open next. With that being said, I want to thank the teachers that took the extra time to not only learn my name, but my goals, my dreams, my fears and my struggles. Thank you to my coworkers who have pushed me beyond the limits I set for myself. Thank you to my family, who knows me better than anyone else and still chooses to love me.
Finally, thank you to my best friend. You found me when I was lost. You loved me when I didn’t love myself. You stood by my side when it felt like everyone had disappeared. You’re my rock. My best friend. The John Lennon to my Paul McCartney. You’re my sister.