Editorial | Classy grads

There was nothing unexpected about the 53rd commencement exercises held last week for the Mercer Island High School Class of 2010. It is yet another group of motivated and talented young people who have been nurtured and taught by involved parents and a group of top-notch education professionals. One only had to scan the lists of awards, listen to the students speak or play a musical instrument or sing alone on a stage in front of hundreds of people, to be impressed. This is an able and creative group destined to do great things.

To those without a loved one in a cap and gown, these events can be dull and long. The speakers intone about what is to come and impart final messages and warnings to the fidgeting graduates. Others make light or use their own past experiences to cast a view of the future that awaits this class — somehow thinking they might really know what is ahead for them. But to be honest, they probably do not.

The classiest participants in the ceremony this year were the graduates themselves, who resisted the temptation to focus on inside humor and jokes. There was perhaps a more solemnity than usual. The sea of maroon was a bit subdued. Beyond the flower leis many wore, the only way that grads can express themselves is through their feet. To be sure, there was a wide array of footwear. But in all, the graduates knew why they were there — to look forward and say thanks.

Tellingly, the student speakers used the pronoun ‘we’ instead of ‘I.’ They say they are best as a group. Working together and seeking out new ideas and different views is their style. One student speaker recited a proverb, “None of us are as smart as all of us.”

Their views center around the real world of responsibilities yet to come. They are mature enough to realize the comfort of support and home is to be left behind. They appear to know what is ahead. We wish them Godspeed.

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