Thursday, July 09, 2009

A mom addresses her daughter's graduating class

My friend and neighbor Ruth Adkins, who is an elected member of the Portland School board, addressed the Wilson High School graduating class recently. Among the graduates was her daughter Jane.

Parents no doubt will relate to this part of her short speech.

e live around the corner from the school, and I've seen a lot of you coming and going over the years. I have my own memories and perspective on your busy lives as Wilson students. Baseball games, the bright lights of the football field, soccer and softball down at Rieke. Basketball in the gym. Students out on the track running up and down the bleacher steps – it made my knees hurt just to look at you.

Visiting the preschool program and seeing the power of high schoolers teaching little ones. Choir and band performances. Standing shivering in the Hillsdale shopping center for the December holidays. Musicals, plays, and one-acts from the drama department, from "Merry Wives of Windsor," which as a former Renaissance Studies major I have seen times, to "Rent" and "On the Razzle" this year – with you guys totally blowing us away every single time.

Seeing the bus return from Outdoor School with tired and grubby and happy student leaders. Seeing students serving the community by planting trees on campus, helping pull weeds on clean-up days, coming around the neighborhood to collect empty bottles or recycle our Wilson Christmas tree. Reading The Statesman and the yearbook and getting more glimpses of your opinions, passions, humor and opinions.

Walking past the display cases in the hallway and always seeing something beautiful and inspiring, whether ceramics, drawing, prints, sculpture or photographs.

And then senior year and the joys of college applications, and grownups like me endlessly asking you where you were applying, where you got in, where are you will go.

I particularly want to thank the counselors and teachers for all their hard work in getting those letters of recommendations done and helping with application. Everyone's hard work has paid off and now you are heading out to colleges near and far. Many have with gap year adventures planned or careers lined up.

I know my list has just scratched the surface. It's pretty amazing just thinking about all you have done in high school. You must be exhausted. But of course, the reality is you are just getting started. Your energies and talents are great enough to take you just about anywhere. I know you will ably represent Portland Public Schools and Wilson, wherever you go. So dear Class of 2009, on behalf of the school board, as a neighbor, and as a mom, I'm going to miss you. I wish you all the very best.

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