It’s a bittersweet time for parents and graduates alike; more bitter for parents, who know that their child’s time at home with them is rapidly coming to a close but proud of their accomplishments. It’s sweeter for the graduates, who anticipate the thrill of autonomy, with some pangs of anxiety mixed in, knowing they will be leaving their familiar surroundings, never to come back on the same basis.
In addition to their parents, Weston graduates have been nurtured by a school system and community that values education — not just test scores and grades but the quest for knowledge. They have learned that education doesn’t end because school is out; teachers are everywhere, in many shapes and sizes; not limited to the classroom or even to humans.
Most members of the class of 2013 went to kindergarten in 2000-01, the first class of the new millennium. They learned 21st Century skills to prepare them for 21st Century living that’s vastly different from the 20th Century where their parents and teachers have spent most of their lives. Class members have also learned the values of a caring community, that 21st Century technology can never replace the importance of human interaction.
As important as home and a nurturing community is, the goal in educating any child is to prepare him for becoming his own person, capable and willing to make his own decisions, eager to move beyond the familiar to discover what’s next and what can be better.
Local and national hero Mark Twain, who lived next door in Redding, wrote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Bon voyage, class of 2013. We hope you will use life’s inevitable trial and suffering to strengthen your soul as you sail away from your own safe harbor. Know we are all waving good-bye, ready to welcome you back whenever you would like to come home.