This coming weekend there are going to be a lot of proud families as graduates from throughout the Yakima Valley get ready to walk across the stage and receive their high school diploma.
I can still remember my high school graduation like it was yesterday. I remember thinking that accepting my diploma was like the end of an era. There would be no more high school. I'd never see my friends again.
But then, just a few days after the ceremony, it dawned on me that we still had all summer and some of us were even heading off to college together. When I think about the weird feeling that a chapter of my life was closing on graduation day, now I kind of chuckle. I laugh because even today I am still in touch with a lot of my good friends from high school. We still call each other, share our biggest secrets with each other and prepare for the challenges that life has in store for us.
Now, I think graduation is less of an end to a good thing and more of a new beginning for good things yet to come. Some high school graduates will go on to college, others will head off to tech school or community college, and others will get a job or get married. All of these things mark new beginnings.
I can still remember the day when I left for college and thought that my life was never going to be the same. I was leaving my parents' house and heading out on my own. (Well, almost on my own with a little financial help from mom and dad, of course.) But then I got used to it, and college ended up being a great experience filled with new beginnings.
So this weekend as graduates walk down the aisle and put an end to their high school career, it's important to remember that although graduation may signify an ending, it also means a new beginning and good things yet to come.