Every year, I dread attending.
Let's be real, it is boring.
In our venue, it is also hot and humid.
And every year, I am glad I got to go.
Glad I got to see kids I know walk across the stage.
Walk into the next phase of their lives.
This year was special for a few reasons.
First, our principal gave a great commencement speech.
He listed the usual cliches, then basically said who cares? look at what these kids have accomplished.
He proceeded to list a variety of amazing achievements by our kids.
Then he named those kids and asked them to stand.
The second special moment made me cry.
Last fall, one of our students killed himself.
I wrote about him at the time.
That hurt is still pretty raw. More so than I realized maybe.
During graduation, his father crossed the stage and accepted an honorary degree for him.
It caught me by surprise.
And I thought it was a beautiful way of honoring him without glorifying his choice.
When I heard his name, I felt that emotion right away.
Then the assistant principal announcing the names had to pause.
His expression echoed my heart.
I traded glances with the colleague next to me.
That glance was our undoing and we both cried quietly.
After the ceremony was over, I got to see some of my special babies.
Three of my SAM kiddos from this year.
A handful of other kids who have kept me.
One little girl took my phone away from to take our picture, because, and I quote,
"Ms. Hirsch, gimme that. You don't know how to take a selfie right!"
Once I had seen and hugged the kids I promised to see, I scooted out the door double time.
My boyfriend was waiting in the convertible in the parking lot.
I hopped in and we sped off to the drive-in to see Wonder Woman and King Arthur.
Both were a ton of fun.
It was a good end to a good day.
Watching success become reality is worth the boredom and discomfort.
Every. Single. Year.