Graduation gets me. I’m a sucker for all of it: the traditions, the music, even the confetti. The moments of emotion always sneak up on me. I think I’m good and then something will get me all choked up. I worry that my voice will catch when I’m speaking, that I’ll start to cry and not be able to finish. But this year, it’s particularly hard for me to stand up here. You see, I have my own senior. I’ve been living my own series of “lasts” with my “first.” And to add to that, I’ve already “ugly cried” today as I was out there in the audience for her graduation before coming here.
Truth be told, it’s usually the music that sets me off. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t ruined my make-up more than once listening to “For Good” on my Broadway Pandora station this past month. Music has the power to bring back memories and launch a flood of emotions. Having raised my own musical member of the Class of 2019, there are some songs that I think mark important times along your journey.
In the summer of 2001, when you were all babies, “A Beautiful Day” by U2 was the most overplayed song on the radio. But for us – the families of the Class of 2019 – it was the perfect anthem. Each of you need to know that it was, without a doubt, a beautiful day when you arrived. The dreams we had for you then are the same we have for you now: happiness and independence.
In 2006, when you entered Kindergarten, the #1 song on the charts was “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter. For my senior, her first day of school was a very bad day. When the bus returned with her at the end of the day, she stomped off and announced, “I hate school.” I was crushed as she marched right by me up the street to our house. You see, I love school and I had never considered my children might not. It was the first of many lessons she began to teach me about her independence and happiness; about how she interacts with the world completely separate from me. Her reactions are not my reactions. Your reactions are not our reactions. As teachers we wanted you to love the books we love and the subjects we love. As parents, we wanted you to love the activities, sports and hobbies we loved because those things bring us joy. We wanted you to be happy so we shared the things with you that made us happy. But we know that you are each your very own person and we have spent the past 18 years coming to terms with this. Every time you reject something we love in lieu of something YOU love, you are teaching us that you are becoming independent – and that we have done our job.
In 2008 you were headed to second grade. We let you turn up the volume on the radio in the minivan when Flo Rida came on and we smiled when you and your friends sang about “Apple Bottom Jeans” and “Boots with the Fur.” Hannah Montana had turned seamlessly into a pre-“Wrecking Ball” Miley Cyrus and your teachers let you sing “Party in the USA” at the top of your lungs on the playground. We scheduled, carpooled and managed your independence for those years. Then, before we knew it, 2012 was here and you entered the sixth grade. When we were alone in our car, the Gotye song “Somebody That I Used to Know” rang painfully true. It’s when you started telling us at home and at school that the scheduled and regimented independence just wasn’t enough. You started forging your own path and making your own decisions…some better than others, I’m sure. You danced in to high school with Bruno Mars and “Uptown Funk.” You were told by Rihanna you better “Work.” Twenty One Pilots reminded you that you were “Stressed Out.” Walk the Moon suggested you “Shut Up and Dance” and Taylor Swift just had you “Shake it Off.” You managed through bumps in the road – sometimes with the support of your family or teachers and sometimes independently. You celebrated your victories – sometimes with us and sometimes with a private fist pump all by yourself. You each took your own unique and independent path to reach this milestone. And we hope that you recognize how proud you should be – and how proud we all are of you. So I take my wish for you from Marshmello -
“Lately, I've been, I've been thinking
I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier
Even though I might not like this
I think that you'll be happier.”
Photo caption (top image): Class of 2019 Graduation ceremony at the Cintas Center, May 26, 2019.
Photo caption 2: Superintendent Dr. Amy Crouse delivers her message to the Class of 2019.
You can access a video of the Class of 2019 Graduation ceremony at the Cintas Center here. (Click the "play" icon, then "Previous Broadcast" and select "2019 Loveland Graduation." The video will be available until June 25, 2019.)