The graduation from Everett High School last week of 368 Everett young men and women now ready to enter the larger world outside of the city where they grew up was a great success.
Overall, it was a dignified, exhilarating event for everyone who attended and especially for the proud parents and friends of the graduates.
The graduates enter a world that is vastly different than the world even five years ago.
It is nearly impossible to give a true vision of how much about the world and our personal world has changed since the economic earthquake almost five years ago.
Everything changed abut our economy. Everything about our lives became just a bit harder with the recession – and these kids graduating last Thursday evening are children of that recession.
It is they who will have to overcome the impediments set in place by the economic downturn.
Many of the graduates are going on to college and at great personal expense for them and for their parents.
They go away to college or to junior college or to trade school or into the armed forces with a new understanding about the cost of student loans and the weight of those loans and they know a bit more about the great effort it will take to pay them back.
They go out into the world at a time when it is nearly impossible for kids to find jobs to make extra money for college or for whatever it is they are going to do in the fall.
Worst of all, they enter an American society at odds with itself politically, economically, socially, and morally.
Nothing seems to be exactly right about how we conduct ourselves anymore in this upside down world that has come to be.
But these 368 graduates are in for the ride of their lives.
They don’t know this when they are just starting out but it is inevitably what is going to occur.
They can’t know what is going to happen to them until it happens to them.
That’s the way history is for all of us.
They will learn this, however: if they work hard and smart, if they struggle and sweat and worry just a bit about getting ahead, they will have what they want out of this life.
These kids who got their social, economic and intellectual beginnings at Everett High School are now walking down another path.
It will many of them far away from the EHS that became their home.
Many years from now, after traveling the circle of their lives, they will come back as adults to EHS for their reunion and there they will tell one another stories about life none of them could have imagined on the day they graduated.
We wish all of them the best in the years to come.
Good luck, Class of 2012.