We graduate from many things; preschool, kindergarten, grade school, junior high, high school, boot camp, college, obedience school. Yet successfully finishing high school has one original aspect. It most often includes the leaving of home.
Mothers look forward to the children finally graduating, yet they often cry at the actuality of it when it sinks in. They are losing their babies. Students anxiously look forward to it, yet realize they are separating from family and friends. Fathers quietly anticipate it, yet will soon long for the noise, requests for money, the empty refrigerator and the empty gas tank. There is a sad difference between peace and organization in a home versus an empty nest.
A graduation means an accomplishment from one thing to something better, moving on to something higher or more grand. You pass kindergarten to be more prepared for first grade. You graduate from potty training to no longer needing plastic bed sheets. High school graduation signifies that a person is more prepared for ... adulthood? growing up? for leaving home? for getting a clue at what is next?
What is next? Some former high school students will continue on with technical training or college courses. Some graduates will go right into the work force. Some will be busier than ever before trying to hold down a job in order to pay for technical training or college courses. Some will spend savings to see the world for a year. Some will join the military. Marriage will become intertwined with some plans. Then, things will drastically change yet again.
The family business or hometown atmosphere might call one back home. But "home" will be different. Younger siblings have longed for years to take over that prized bedroom. Parents say "remember to write" to the graduate as they are rearranging the graduate's bedroom into a home office. Most high school friends will be gone, maybe to only rarely return for family visits. If a graduate someday does return to the hometown to stay, living with mom and dad might be a slim option, but most unlikely. Memories of graduating from kindergarten to first grade are far different than the changes connected with graduating from high school to whatever comes next.
Yet, whatever comes next is what school was all about. Ready or not, students are leaving school and leaving home. Students have been practicing to varying degrees at being their own selves. The past leads to the future. Tears and laughter are mixed together because graduation is a good thing, though it is admittedly a life change. Easily or with anguish, the future is upon the graduates. They must now begin to make their new life, grow toward and create their new home.
High school graduation includes the leaving of home. It may be the heading away from home, but it is also, in a sense, the heading toward a new home.