I was fortunate to be among the guests at Placer High School’s 113th commencement on Saturday June 9, 2012. I say fortunate not because I had to get up early for a Saturday and get myself to the stadium, secure a parking place and negotiate the bleachers for a place to sit, in the sun for the next hour and forty-five minutes. The reason I say fortunate is because I was given the opportunity to see history repeat itself. As a parent myself, I watched the graduation ceremony through different eyes than I did when I was one of the graduates sitting on the grass. I marveled at the ceremony, that the students would suggest was different and original, but was truly just the 2012 version of what I experienced twenty years ago. Does that make it any less memorable or any less important? No. It was all those things that a graduation should be. I really believe that the beauty existed in its sameness, because in this case, it is the traditions that live on. The sameness connects the ceremonies through the years. One hundred thirteen graduating classes have sat in front of their families and friends, have made speeches and clowned for the cameras, have worn cowboy boots or ties, dresses or military garb, whatever it was that they felt would distinguish them as individuals. Parents have cried, cheered, hugged, smiled. They have presented gifts: small tokens and grand gestures, all in an attempt to mark the moment, the experience of graduation.
I often get to experience these moments many years after the fact. People share their graduation stories with me when they bring in the watch that was given by parents, the ring that was presented from Grandma, the pocket watch that was passed on from Grandpa. These are their treasures, not because of their monetary value, but because of the moments in time that they mark, the traditions that they represent, the history that they repeat.