A welcome return to traditional commencements


(Jeffersonville & New Albany) News and Tribune

Graduations always have held such promise. They signal accomplishment and are viewed as a rite of passage into adulthood.

The image that comes to mind is that of a disheveled and dirty child loping beside a young adult; the child has a broad smile, his older self, a confident grin. They walk hand-in-hand, the grip gradually loosening until they part ways.

That’s life.

To grow from moppet to maturity, we rely on the tutelage and nurturing of our families, be they at home or at school.

It’s the students and their school families taking center stage at ceremonies across the Hoosier state, as 2021 graduates transition hoods, child to adult.

A year ago, there were no grand in-person ceremonies to mark educational achievement as we fought a thief of a pandemic that stole not only our loved ones, but also our way of life.

Today, though, we nearly have beaten back the challenge to our existence, mostly because of scientists whose education fed their curiosity.

Researchers developed safety measures that lowered our risk of COVID-19 infection. And they created an effective vaccine sooner than even the most optimistic among us could have hoped.

We can breathe easier now, a new day dawning on the horizon as light displaces the darkness of our pandemic nightmare.

We can hope again, embracing a future filled with boundless possibilities.

We all have learned a lot this past year, right alongside the students masked-up and in their seats or logging in to virtual classrooms.

Teachers became the innovators, developing creative lesson plans that catered to the needs of students wherever they were found.

It was heartening to see the determination shown by students, too, who fought through challenges — anxiety, access, fear — to learn the material, take the test, make the team … they would not be denied.

While the graduations this year might not mirror those of the past, as some safety protocols linger, they serve as a ceremonial renewal.

The ritual is important, to graduates and their families, to teachers and school staff.

We applaud the efforts of education officials who worked to enable the ceremonies to resume.

And to the graduates with diploma or degree in hand — congratulations!

Now — go get ‘em!

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