Vail Daily column: Thank you to the Class of 2017 |

Vail Daily column: Thank you to the Class of 2017

Deb Shay
Valley Voices
Deb Shay
Special to the Daily |

What if you were told you were being given front-row seats and VIP passes for the greatest show on Earth? I’m not talking about the circus here. I’m talking about the honor and privilege of being a part of the lives of this year’s graduating class.

As the calendar nears the end of May (and graduation), many parents start to get sentimental and reminiscent of how quickly 13 years of school has gone by. I thought I had my “tough” persona intact, but three weeks ago, it struck me that my son and his many goofy, smart, silly, wonderful and intelligent friends were about to close their chapters of high school. There is no question that they are as ready as they will ever be.

Yet here I am in my front-row seat (with VIP passes) thinking about how far each of these kids has come independently and as a group. It makes me so proud that I cry, but I am also experiencing an honor that I had never felt before. I’ve had the pleasure to witness the development of young adults from small, curious, sometimes lost or scared little kids.

This class of 2017 was born before Y2K. Most of them arrived on this Earth before the Vail ’99 Championships. They were born before most of us had the wisdom we now possess; with this class, we have shared so much. They allowed us to become the parents we are today. These kids allowed us to become friends with one another. As a common interest, we got to watch, cheer and support our kids.

As I reflected on my time as a soccer mom, I remembered the realization that not every victory showed up on a scoreboard. Our coaches were role models for us as much as for the kids. They valued each player for what that player brought to the team. They tried their best to teach the kids to lose gracefully and win with humility. I believe, as parents, we grew as much as the kids did.

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A few weeks ago, I attended a high school performance of “Mary Poppins.” Of course, I knew the story and the songs before going to the show. What I was barreled over by was the unbelievable talent of the students in this community. It was as if I had never seen “Mary Poppins” before. Many of these kids grew up before my eyes. I feel so lucky to have witnessed the growth and development of young people in our community. What an honor and a privilege.

So, to the class of 2017, cheers to you! You are an amazing group of intelligent, accomplished, funny real kids. You haven’t been “perfect,” but what fun would that have been? Together, we have shared in the joys of growing up together and the sorrows of defeat. We have experienced sweet success and bitter loss. And for each and every milestone we’ve had along the way, we have been blessed to be part of each other’s lives.

So, wherever your road takes you, remember that you come from a community where people truly cared about you, adults were honored to be a part of your life and collectively we can’t wait to see where you go. And one more thing: “There’s no place like home.”

Deb Shay is an Edwards resident and mother of Sam Shay, Vail Mountain School Class of 2017.

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