Somewhere deep within the bowels of Reunion Arena, I sit with fellow teachers, waiting for this miracle of education called graduation. Apparently we’re all here early, so we have been shuffled into a waiting room while the school ahead of us finishes its ceremony.
This year’s graduating class carries a special significance for me: I taught many of them when they were freshman four years ago–my first year at Sunset, and also as a teacher. This then, is the first class I have seen through from beginning to end, and I have forged close relationships with quite a few of them.
Many of them will be the first from their families to graduate from high school, and most of them have overcome countless obstacles (economically, culturally, socially, demographically) to walk across this stage in a few hours. At the beginning of each year, Sunset takes in about 900 freshmen. At the end of each year, we graduate less than 300. It would be an understatement to say that many are, sadly, lost along the way. It does make it all the more of an achievement, however, for those few who do make it this far. Couple that with the even smaller number from this graduating class who will likely cross another stage four years from now as college graduates, and the great challenge faced by me and those colleagues sitting around me presently becomes readily apparent.
Truly, this is an awe-inspiring event, a humbling ceremony, a real educational miracle, I have the honor of participating in once again. Class of 2004, I salute you.