...this month, that I received my high school diploma. Ten years ago, I rejected the invitation to my high school reunion without a second thought. This year, however, I was excited about it, even planning on it.
What brought about the change of heart in ten years? Was it my stint in the interim as a high school librarian? The revelation that Sister Eileen and Sister Isabel were profound influences on my life? Had I finally forgiven Sister Regina for turning me off the Great Grey Poet for a dozen years when she dwelled on—oh horror of horrors—Walt Whitman's hotness? Or did I just want to see how everyone's doing, especially Andrea and Trish, who have seemingly fallen off the face of the planet?
Regardless of my motives, I was excited when I opened an envelope from my alma mater this spring. My twenty-year high school reunion was scheduled for...never? Apparently the school has been struggling to keep its doors open for twenty years, and the class of 2009 is its last. Coincidence? So while there were plans for goodbye picnics and the like, I opted instead to push aside the idea of the high school reunion.
I don't have any deep ties to the College of Santa Fe, but I have friends who do. Likewise, St. Cate's here, or the University of Albuquerque. Alvord's doors are still open, but for how long? I can commiserate with those people who have looked at a school as a summary of a life chapter, as a fixed point in time, even if the experience itself wasn't all rosy. Take away the school itself, and where do you go from there?
They recently had the Capital High graduation at the Convention Center, and it was great to share an elevator with so many proud parents and elated students. I offered each of them a congratulations, because while high school usually isn't rocket science or a graduate degree, it's a tough time. High school graduation is the closest thing mainstream American culture has to a rite-of-passage to adulthood. Well, there is the driver's license, but I don't see the MVD shutting its doors anytime soon.
So, to all the Class of 2009, Congratulations!
And to everyone heading to a high school reunion, say hi to Trish and Andrea for me.