Friday, June 10, 2005
CCHS graduates Class of 2005
The graduating class waited impatiently in the crowded CCHS lower gym Saturday afternoon, straightening caps, remarking on other students' choice of shoes, and reflecting on time spent together over the last four years. When the call came to form the rehearsed lines, there were a few minutes of chaos until everyone settled into the routine. We filed out of the gym wondering how much longer we would have to wait before the ceremony would begin. The prospect of standing in the hot sun in our gowns was not a thrilling one. Finally we could hear the concert band start up the fanfare in the distance, then start the ubiquitous "Pomp and Circumstance." The class ran a slow gauntlet through a crowd of applauding teachers.
Principal Arthur Dulong took a familiar tone in his opening address. He explained that we are faced with an unfamiliar and potentially frightening prospect: we are close to entering "the real world," which might seem, more than ever, to be full of fear and chaos. He reminded us that every previous class has faced the same uncertainty, recalling the time of his own graduation from high school during the Vietnam era. Now and then were both times of war, but Mr. Dulong encouraged us, saying that we were more prepared to face the world than any other class. According to him, the senior class is especially academic, hardworking, and caring.
Laura Belkner, president of the class, spoke of the experiences we had shared from early childhood to the present day, and of the importance of the solidarity that we have built in our time together as a class. Emily Rose, secretary of the senior class, presented the class gift, a new sign for the Thoreau Street entrance to the school. Luke Henesy, vice president of the junior class, accepted the gift on behalf of the school.
Superintendent Finn highlighted the need to use our time wisely, to be productive, make a difference in the world, and to do what we love. After her brief speech she gave the flag awards, the two flags which have flown over the high school over the past year, to students Sean DeBruzzi and Bonnie MacEachern. Michael Hutson, Eva Smith, and Karin Knudsen were awarded medals for highest scholastic averages of the senior class.
"The Hero's Journey"
Kate Richmond, CCHS English teacher, gave the keynote address. The subject was one that many of us found familiar from Sophomore English: the Hero's Journey. She said, "The Hero's Journey is a map, which leads us through experience upon experience until a degree of wisdom is gained. I can tell you how the story goes, but not what you will discover about yourself and the world along the way." She went on to describe the plot elements of a hero's journey and related them to our own lives: the hero is called into an adventure from the familiar to the unknown (we graduate from high school); he is given advice from "threshold guardians," those who have come before (adults tell us what to do); and faces his biggest challenge: confronting himself. So why should we care about these stories if they are all the same? She told us why: "We like to tell the story because it helps us to better understand ourselves and we like to hear the story because it gives us the courage and desire to step outside our front doors and cross the various thresholds we may encounter." She gave us courage by reminding us that anyone who has come before has wisdom to give us, and that they all know exactly how we feel, whether it be apprehensive or excited, overwhelmed or thrilled. The last piece of wisdom she tried to impart was the fact that "the peace [we] will seek resides within." She finished by leading the class in a few tranquil breaths, and assured us that the way ahead is wonderful.
In concordance with expectations, the issuing of diplomas was hardly characterized by solemn reflection. The shouting, whistling, and air horns were an exuberant chorus for the event, and the excitement grew until it all came to an abrupt end and the students were dismissed. This dismissal, better than any 2:05 bell, was the final release from high school that everyone had been dreaming of since the beginning of freshman year. We had seen others do it. We knew that our siblings and friends had walked into Concord-Carlisle as freshmen and come out somehow entirely different. In shaking that hand and taking hold of that diploma, we gained a ticket to all that the future might hold.
It was dreadfully hot in our gowns in the full sun on that beautiful day, as every speaker made sure to mention, as every student whispered, as every band and audience member knew. We fanned ourselves, panted, sweated and sat. But there was no question that we would sit, watch, and applaud no matter what the circumstances because it was a day to mark our lives. Friends, fellows, and family came to remember us and to send us on our way. Here we stand, on one side our past, and on the other, our future.
© 2005 The Carlisle Mosquito