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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wherever They’re Going, They’re On Their Way

Northport Class of 2012
The class motto of Northport’s 2012 graduating seniors was “I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way,” a quote from American poet Carl Sandburg, and a more refreshing group of well-spoken young people would be hard to imagine. They were serious and funny by turn, but their every word was honest. “We didn’t always love each other every minute,” they admitted, referring to historic feuds and fights along the path from kindergarten to graduation, “but here we are.” Still together. Setting off into the world.

Salutatorian John Petoskey

Valedictorian Nina Muller

Commencement speaker Steve Wetherbee
Is graduation anywhere else like this? A commencement address that includes a banjo? A little “flower girl” (Olivia Craker) giving out, from a basket on her arm, flowers (white orchids) to all the seniors on the stage? Seniors producing flowers (white lilies) from under their chairs to take down into the audience and present to parents and guardians? After diplomas have been handed out, the slide show (that's what the big screen in the top photo was all about), with pictures of each graduate, from baby photos to senior portraits?

Every year I, like many others in the audience, have more grey in my hair and am further in time from my own graduation. This year’s class was not yet born the first summer of my bookstore in Northport. The connection I had to the school during the years I tutored there has weakened, more a feeling in my heart now than an item on my daily agenda. And yet, Northport graduation never loses its magic for me. I wonder if these young people know how many people are made happy just by the sight of them on the sidewalk? They are our future.

So congratulations to the Class of 2012:

Megan Elaine Henderson
Austin Glen Miller
Anina Lee Punahele Naegeli Müller
John Minodeé Petoskey
Forrest Alexander Rogers
Chelsea Renee Wack
Francis Mitchell Wanageshik

Best wishes to you all as you go out into the world. May you work hard, do well and do good, and may all your dreams come true.


Kathy said...

This blog is really lovely, Pamela. Are there only seven Northport graduates, or are the ones mentioned personal friends? I like their class motto. Smiling that you tutored there in the past and formed precious connections. Bless our youth as they move forth into the world...

P. J. Grath said...

The whole class was seven students, Kathy. Those you see on the stage--that's the Class of 2012.

laurie said...

Very uplifting story, Pamela. I'm touched by the fact that you attend the high school graduation each year. A small class like this is unusual nowadays, I think - most students get bused to larger schools. These sound like wonderful young people. I wish them much success.

P. J. Grath said...

Laurie, there are problems with a high school as small as Northport's. Certain problems arise precisely because of the small size of classes. On the other hand, large schools have their own problems that arise from being big. The way I see it, having all schools the same size, as if there is some optimum, perfect number to be achieved by busing, misses the point. But that's me. Others see it differently and would like our little high school to close.

Helen said...

Your wishes for the graduates are a bit like the one's from the Bob Dylan song I tried to recite at my new grandson's Naming Ceremony:

Forever Young

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
And may you stay, forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you

May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay forever young
Joan Baez sings this beautifully.

P. J. Grath said...

Helen, thank you for including all the lyrics from this wonderful song. It expresses so well what we wish for our babies, children, youth--and each other!

BB-Idaho said...

Always a milestone for kids and parents transitional in a way.
Since there were 42 of us whose
last name started with B in my huge HS class of '59, I'm thinking
a class of seven would be much closer. Young graduate Petoskey;
always curious, am wondering if any connection with the community
of the same name up on Little Traverse Bay?