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Usually, you don’t think of a graduation ceremony as exciting, funny, delightful, prayerful, heartfelt and entertaining.
But, that’s how it was at the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2013 at Pagosa Springs High School.
As I listened to the speaker, Sean Downing, challenge the seniors of 2013, I knew I had to write this article.
At the beginning, when he was introduced, until he ended his speech, everyone was spellbound by his delivery. He began with the thought of giving. He said the world teaches how to get; he asked them to be givers. He challenged the kids as they start a new life to be a heroic gift to the world.
He reminded the audience of how he was a humble recipient of the generosity of the people of Pagosa. They gave to his family during his daughter’s illness. He reminded the students that a community has been a part of raising them and influencing them. Because of the Pagosa’s generosity, they are better for it.
The seniors were introduced. Over half of them started together as kindergartners. I enjoyed the creativity of the video presentation, which was produced by the seniors. In a small town, there are many opportunities that a big town can’t give them. I think it’s heart.
Darcy DeGuise sang “The Hardest Part of Love” to the seniors. She had emotion in her voice, and the tears in the seniors’ eyes reflected their bond. I listened to her relate to the kids at one of the parties and I could see the love she has for them, and they for her.
At the end, Isaiah Thompson was asked to close the ceremony. He mentioned he couldn’t say a benediction because they couldn’t pray in school. He added, “God forbid they would pray in school.”
God was there in our hearts. Isaiah closed with a wish for the seniors, which was a benediction. It brought a laugh, but we all know, throughout the year, these children have been prayed for over and over. They couldn’t have made it without endless prayers for them.
Can they keep prayer out of school? How foolish they are to think they can make a law to keep God from showing up. We carry the Lord in our hearts and a prayer constantly on our lips. That ceremony was bathed in prayer.
We attended the party for our grandson and listened to the people talk about the graduation ceremony. I don’t ever remember hearing people talk about a graduation ceremony with so much passion.
It was a day of party hopping; that’s how it is on graduation day in Pagosa. The seniors go from one party to another, hanging out, eating a little here and a little there. That’s a tradition in Pagosa.
I was amused that one of the boys carried his skateboard in the procession. I thought it was a clever idea. I wondered what declaration he was making. As the speaker said, this day was a day of weird emotions for the seniors. They are still young children going out into the world of adults. This young boy cares for his very sick mother and will not be the child much longer. We pray for him.
The day also brought family and friends together. We talked to old friends, and we were all reminded how the years have flown by. It was only yesterday we watched our children graduate. Now we were watching together as our grandchildren do the same.
My daughter said, “I’m not sad, only excited to see what he will achieve.”
Knowing our grandson, it will be have to be something where he can be bold and loud!
There were so many wonderful things said to the seniors about leaving their homes, beginning a new life, and making a difference. Oohs and ahhs, picture taking and proud parents made it almost sacred.
My Sweet Al leaned over to me and said, “It all sounds good, but Monday morning they have to get a job.”
I said, “Today is not the day to tell them.”
Final brushstroke: All in the day in our small town of Pagosa Springs. Congratulations to the seniors of 2013. We are most proud of you.
“I go through life as a transient on his way to eternity, made in the image of God but with that image debased, needing to be taught how to meditate, to worship, live, and to think.” — Donald Coggan.