All too often, though, tragedy strikes in the midst of all the celebrating. The high school graduates either drink too much, drive too fast or both. In any event, every year at graduation time, you read about some young graduate or group of graduates who overdo their celebrating and it results in tragedy. Although college graduates drink, they don’t seem to get as reckless on graduation as do high school graduates.
After all the speeches about looking ahead to a bright future, accomplishments to come in their new lives as a result of achieving their diploma, and on and on – it all ends with a tag on their toe on a slab in some county’s morgue. I almost don’t want to hear about high school graduation, because, even though I may not know the graduate victim or victims, I still grieve when I hear about those things happening.
I think about the teachers, family and neighbors who’ve had a hand in developing this person into the proud graduate they were. Now, they have become another kind of statistic before they can ever even begin to meet up to all of those lofty goals they have laid out for them to achieve in the future.
It’s almost as if the efforts of all those around them were for nothing. In some ways, one thinks that if you could know in advance who would do themselves in ahead of time, maybe all the people around a person’s development could concentrate on someone else’s development instead. When we lose someone in tragic accidents any time, everyone loses, but it is especially sad at graduation time.
I applaud the all-night Safe and Sober high school parties that have developed around our area. These have really helped curb the losses at graduation time. It’s a lot of work to set up these parties and coordinate all the pieces necessary to make it happen in a quality way, but it is an effort that is really worthwhile.
These parent-run, all-night parties are not only fun, but they are memorable as well. The graduates of the various high schools who are lucky enough to attend one of these functions have many great memories for years to come.
Graduates have found that having these all-night parties has given them an alternative to drinking themselves silly. They can enjoy at least one night more with their classmates having a truly fun night sharing common experiences in a safe and fun activity they could not have done had their parents, friends and neighbors not pulled together to organize a tremendous celebration of their graduation.
The devotion and love that the people who put on these events should not go unnoticed by the graduates. Parents are not putting these parties on for you because they want to interfere in your plans; they are doing the party because they love you and want you around a while.
The best part is that the next day, though tired, the new graduates can begin their quest for their future in one whole piece, alive and vital to pursue their dreams.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.