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Graduation reflections

I covered a couple of graduations this past weekend — one in The Herald coverage area — and doing so always exposes me to ideas of how to handle life from the “big picture” perspective. Administrators, keynote speakers, valedictorians and salutatorians alike are offering their insights gleaned from their life experiences and studies.

Then there is also the feeling of excitement as a big moment is arriving and the future awaits. High school graduation is always much-hyped, and sometimes when the test runs are done with, the buildup is over and the actual moment arrives, it can be overwhelming. Or for some maybe it can be a nonevent compared to what led up to it. But for those, the finality of the milestone probably registers, indeed, later on.

There is also the undercurrent of sadness as a key chapter in the students’ lives comes to a definitive end.

I was home-schooled, but starting my junior year of high school, I began attending a co-op one day a week that was comparable to a private Christian school environment. I didn’t like the change at first, but I quickly fell in love with it and really found it to be my element. I really enjoyed those two years, was very active in sports as well as drama and loved the social environment.

After I graduated, I went to a community college nearby, and my schedule was flexible enough I would come back around to participate in P.E. for a year or two with my friends still in high school.

Eventually though, my remaining friends began to graduate and those visits became fewer and far between, and something hit home. As much as that place was where I belonged in high school, I didn’t belong there anymore. It was crazy to me how I could feel like a place was my home away from home, and then suddenly it just wasn’t anymore.

But that is a part of this life. In many cases, we are involved in something for a limited period of time, and then we must move on in order to grow and enter the next chapter. It is times like these that some of those insights the speakers share at graduations can be pretty helpful if taken to heart and applied.

As a Christian, I appreciated when the speeches or quotes shared this past weekend would look at life from a biblical perspective. Sometimes the quote wouldn’t be from Scripture, but it would touch on a biblical principle.

At the Fuqua School graduation, I really appreciated how Valedictorian Christian Huggard ended his speech. He offered up the following quote from Marcus Aurelius: “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.”

I thought that was some great advice Christian gave to his classmates, echoing Paul’s instruction in 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Julia La Roche, who has achieved an inspiring level of success only 13 years removed from her time at Fuqua, gave some important insight in her commencement address about making wise investments — socially, academically, financially, etc. — and doing so now rather than later.

I had never experienced a two-part graduation like the one that Fuqua does, but the second part offered a really great opportunity for the Class of 2019 to express itself while reflecting on the last four years. I particularly enjoyed the video that highlighted each and every one of the school’s graduates.

In the video, we were treated to a quote — selected by the students, I presume — along with a series of photos that briefly chronicled their lives from infancy to senior year, and this would all be accompanied by what I’m also assuming was their song of choice. It all effectively communicated important things about who each student is, and these vignettes unfolded in a manner of about 15-20 seconds each.

It was a great last hurrah for the high school students, and I congratulate them on successfully completing this chapter of their lives. I join every parent in hoping that the students take to heart the sound advice delivered in order to ensure that their greatest accomplishments are still to come.

TITUS MOHLER is the sports editor for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Titus.Mohler@FarmvilleHerald.com.