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Commencing with life

Austin Richardson

The high school years are rich with challenges and opportunities. Dealing with peer pressure, beginning to see where you might fit in the world and, well, learning are but a few. Graduation is that chance to reflect and look ahead at the same time. Look around at the faces peering back at you. Fix those smiles, scowls and furrowed brows of uncertainly deeply into memory. You’ll never see these people under these circumstances again. This is truly a moment to remember.That tear in your mother’s eye isn’t just because she’s so happy you’ve completed your journey. It also comes from the memory of when she accepted her diploma. Her emotion comes from collective memory. Classmates and family since high school have built their lives or wasted them by now. Some have tasted incredible success, and others have died too young. For her, all this too is part of the moment. As you will learn, school memories are indelible. Like the laugh lines etched in your grandmother’s face or the scars left on the hands of your uncle’s hands, battered from 40 years of construction, these recollections leave a mark. There’s no doubt you’ll always remember your first prom, first love and the distinct tastes of victory and defeat. There are few experiences anything like high school. And public school offers the last, best chance you’ve got to relate to people who are NOT exactly like you. College and careers are full of peers with much the same background, intelligence and drive as yourself. This is not the case in high school. When lots of different people are forced to be together, the sparks created by competing ideas and possibilities can crackle with electricity. Being part of a public school is a key part of life’s educational framework. Interacting with students from diverse backgrounds and even more divergent futures can provide a better life education than money can buy. Pay attention to memories of how people reacted either under stress or in celebration, for these recollections are the stuff of life. Those memories will serve you well in the adult world. There’s not all that much different from a temper tantrum in the halls between classes over spurned affection and the slamming of a telephone into its cradle over a business deal gone sour.Celebrating a big win over a high school league rival will give you the same feeling as winning your first court case as an attorney or landing a year-long catering contract with a hotel chain. Whether your path lies as a checker at the local grocery store or as a senator, memories of your high school days will linger a lifetime. Savor this moment and resolve make the best of the rest of your life.Vail, Colorado


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