Graduation ceremonies at Cedar Community Secondary School last year. (NEWS BULLETIN file photo)

Graduation ceremonies at Cedar Community Secondary School last year. (NEWS BULLETIN file photo)

EDITORIAL: Grade 12s graduating, ready for what’s next

Nanaimo high school grad ceremonies will take place this week

High school grads will cross the stage this week, pausing halfway along to receive their diplomas, get hugs, handshakes and congratulations, and smile for photos.

The ceremony carries with it a lot of meaning and symbolism. The students leave behind a pathway, one they’ve shared with all the other teens who come before and after them in the alphabet, and on that other side of the stage is where their paths will start to take them in infinite other directions.

This week marks graduation week in Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district. On Tuesday, June 25, Grade 12 students from Cedar Community Secondary School will receive their diplomas and on Thursday, grads from John Barsby, Nanaimo District, Wellington and Dover Bay will take their turns.

Congratulations to the Class of 2019. Graduation is no small achievement. Yes, around 71 per cent of Nanaimo-Ladysmith students will receive their Dogwood diploma, but it can’t be understated just how much goes into that accomplishment. Intelligence, certainly, but also willingness to learn and grow and be challenged. Hard work, dedication, problem-solving, focus and sacrifice. Building and nurturing friendships and relationships and dealing with teachers, administrators and coaches. And managing to balance all those things while also navigating the tricky social orders, cliques and peer groups in order to be able to sit with the cool kids in the caf at lunch.

Making it through five years of high school really is running the gauntlet, so to speak. Grads have been tested in every sense of the word and hopefully, they’re the better for it, smart and mature and ready as can be, because a lot of the decisions they’re making right about now are the kind that guide and shape lives.

Our high schools don’t turn out graduates who are a finished product – that’s not what schools are meant to do. None of us ever stop becoming who we are and who we want be. But graduation and crossing that stage is a meaningful part of that.

Way to go, grads. We wish you all the best as you cross that stage this week and then keep on going, to wherever comes next.

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