Class of 2012 is ready with life skills

By Joy Anderson, Guest Columnist

Would the class of 2012 please rise? Thank you. You may be seated. That felt great.

Well, here we are. Graduation. We’ve been counting down to this moment in our lives for the entire year. I have to be honest; now that it’s here, I’m terrified.

Mortgage payments, what are those? How do you get a grass stain out? What “is” a balanced diet? There are so many things I don’t know yet. And while half of me wants to get out there and show the world what I’ve got, the other half wants my mom to do my hair and dad to read me a story. It’s overwhelming to realize that this is it.

This is the last time the class of 2012 will be together in this gym. This is the last moment that we will truly be a part of this high school. After spending six years in this building, with this faculty, with these friends, it boggles me to think that it’s over. This is all that we know and it has come to an end.

Why then, are we all sitting here so calmly? There are 57 people in front of me, about to make the biggest, “the most” critical change in their lives thus far, and yet no one is running screaming from the gym!

I’ve been pondering the answer to this strange phenomenon and I can only think of one: it is because we are ready. It is time. We have worked hard and learned much. Our wise parents and astute teachers have prepared us well for the future. “We have some life skills:

Thanks to the English department, we know how to write a resume and also a sad poem, should we need an emotional outlet. Thanks to our math teachers, we can balance our checkbooks — 0 plus 0 equals 0. We will comprehend what’s happening in the upcoming election, and we understand that we live in the United States of America, thank you Social Department. We can visit the river, thank you Mr. Schmitz. If nothing else, we remember frog legs, thank you Mr. Snyder.

These skills are all we need to truly succeed in life. Well, you know, they’re a start. We can do this.

I wanted to end with some strong, unique, encouraging statement about moving from this place out into the world. The problem is, there is no such thing as a unique graduation statement. It has all been said before. But clichés become clichés for a reason; they contain a portion of truth that outlasts time.

We have all worked hard to get here. Today does mark the end of one chapter of our lives and the beginning of a brand new one. We really won’t remember our high school days, but we will remember so many high school moments.

But the best, the most perfect graduation statement, the one that sums it all up for everyone here comes from a commencement speech given by a renowned painter, Gary Bolding. “Fellow graduates, our families are very proud of us right now. They weren’t all together confident that we would ever make it through potty-training; so you can’t begin to imagine the enormity of their sense of relief today. Without question, today would be an extremely opportune time to ask for money.”

Joy Anderson is the salutatorian of her class and gave one of the commencement addresses at the Royalton High School graduation ceremony.