Graduation | Editorial

Commencement Exercises represent a somewhat ancient and strange event. Those who are to be honored wear large, shapeless sacks and funny hats that don’t stay on their heads. Families and friends pack the event — coming to honor the accomplishments of the grads — and to ‘send them off into the world.’ But despite the elaborate send-off and an overnight party, they still come home the next day.

Mercer Island High School Commencement Exercises were once again held at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle last week. The event is as much for the families as for the graduates. For it is the parents, grandparents, neighbors, advisors, teachers, tutors, coaches, youth pastors who also need to be recognized for their hand in seeing students through it all.

For their part, the students have worked hard and endured all kinds of pressure — both peer and academic. It is no easy road. High school is not for the faint of heart.

But as usual, the class of 2012 is chock full of young people who are smart and savvy. They have overcome obstacles, found their passions and utilized their talents. They have  made good use of the opportunities and resources made available to them. In academics or the arts, the teachers who inspire and demand their best efforts are top-notch. It is all made possible by the persistence of parents, the will of the community and its extraordinary generosity.

The talk by physics teacher Aaron Noble at graduation was a gift. Not one platitude about pursuing dreams and the value of hard work was uttered by Mr. Noble. No, here was a teacher who no doubt inspired and demanded original thinking. A good education brings together the best of many disciplines. A bit of Italian, farming techniques and the ability to pause and take measure are all useful skills.

Perhaps the most telling remark about the value of a Mercer Island School District education was made by a recent grad attending the ceremony for a sibling. After hearing Noble speak, she said wistfully, “Why didn’t I take a class from him?”


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