Congratulations, graduates!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 19:00

Beginning today, hundreds of young adults from this community will proudly march in front of teary-eyed parents to receive their high school diplomas. It will be a moment none of them will forget.

Both Eagle River High (2 p.m.) and Chugiak High (7 p.m.) will hold their graduations today at Sullivan Arena. Also tonight, five local students will graduate from Anchorage Chrisitan Schools during that school’s commencement at 7:30 p.m. On Friday, Birchwood Christian will graduate 13 students during a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at the school. Finally, Eagle River Christian School’s six graduates will receive their diplomas at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

High school graduations hold a large amount of significance in our society because they symbolize the transition from childhood to adulthood. Once these graduates walk across the stage, they’ll be stepping into a new world of challenges and responsibilities. It’s a special time in someone’s life, and something to be immensely proud of.

It’s likely a day many students thought might never come, with the often crushing pressure of tests, homework, extracurricular activities and busy social calendars making high school seem like an endless chore. But these students have now proven their mettle by pressing on, making the grade and earning the right to have their names called in front of a cheering crowd.

We want to congratulate the members of the Class of 2013 and their families for reaching this historic milestone, and we’d like to wish the graduates luck in their next endeavors. The path ahead won’t always be smooth, but by taking this first step into the “real world,” our graduates have proven they’re ready to begin their journeys.

We’d also like to offer a bit of advice to the graduates:

Enjoy this moment. Although it may seem as if the new opportunities of adult life can’t come fast enough, try holding onto this last connection to your childhood for as long as you can. Sear these days into your memory. Take some time to reflect on the friendships you’ve made and the relationships you’ve forged during your time in school. In the coming years, you’ll be amazed at how quickly friends drift away as everyone begins exploring the world on their own. Don’t be afraid to share a lot of hugs at graduation.

And please be careful. There’s always an urge to celebrate in the wake of a big accomplishment, but no party is worth anyone’s life. Please think about your actions and take seriously the responsibility that comes with making the transition into the adult world. That means taking responsibility for yourself and your friends and making sure you’re making healthy decisions.

Finally...have fun, be safe and enjoy a wonderful summer. You’ve earned it!

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