Graduating in/from the Pandemic

It feels like a momentous day. COVID continues but California reopens today. Our eighth graders at the middle school where I teach graduate to high school today after fifteen months of distance learning. Their older and younger siblings proceed to summer with a promise of a return in the fall. It also happens to be another birthday for my partner.

Our graduation is a still drive-through affair this year, and I’m about to head over there. My reflections this morning veer toward what these graduation and school-based rituals mean to families and communities. What work it takes, for the whole village, to see these kids through. What hopes are placed in their promotions, their progress, and their possibilities.

It really crystalizes what’s important. What we’re striving towards. Today, parents will wait for hours in the hot sun in a long line of cars for that moment their student can pop out for pictures and keepsakes. It will mean the many more hours of pickups and dropoffs, of lunch prep and helplessness in front of math homework, won’t have been in vain.