A favorite part of my job comes every May when I stand on the graduation stage and hear our students perform and I listen to their speeches and tearful "thank yous.". And when I look into the crowd and see the pride in parent and staff eyes, I am confident our graduates have a solid foundation upon which to build their future.
I know graduation is a major milestone in a student’s life; the culmination of youth and the beginning of their journey into adulthood. Whether students go onto college, join the military, attend a trade school or enter the workforce, our students have so many choices and opportunities after graduation. I take great pride in acknowledging the work of our staff in helping them prepare for life and the world.
One of the highlights of graduation is when students recognize the effect of various adults in their lives. It warms my heart to hear about a teacher who was the reason a student stayed in school. Or a staff member who took an interest in a lonely student and stopped him or her from disregarding their classes. Or a family member who believed in a student when he or she didn’t believe in themselves and they found the courage to try new things and follow their dreams. These are the stories that bring tears to our eyes during the ceremonies for the nearly 2,000 graduates I am honored to watch cross the stage.
It’s truly amazing to witness the splendor of each graduation processional with the young adults decked out in their caps and gowns. They know they are one step away from the rest of their lives and I know the people of PSD played a large part in helping them be ready for whatever comes their way.
To our community: Thank you for providing the resources to make graduation possible for our community’s young people.
To PSD staff: Your commitment to helping children pays off every year when we send off our graduates knowing that you have prepared them well.
To families of seniors: Your support and influence was and always will be critical in helping our graduates be confident in taking on that next adventure.
And finally, to the graduates themselves: What else can I say? Congratulations. You did it!
Sandra Smyser, Ph.D.