What a bittersweet time of year it is for senior high school students, their parents and their educators. As a teacher, I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year, oddly enough. While it’s always exciting to unleash another cohort of adolescents onto an unsuspecting ‘real world’, there is some sadness to knowing young adults who have matured under your guidance no longer need your support, or, if they do, they are without the structure of the ‘system’ they’ve relied upon.
In one short week, the seniors of our school will be finished the formal years of their schooling. This time next year, it will be my own lad but I’m putting that thought out of my mind until then. Their final week will be a mixed one: a fancy graduation dinner followed by the obligatory party, sobering lectures in the hall from emergency services urging personal safety, driver awareness reminders and valedictory speeches. Almost too much in such a short, few days.
Then … there is schoolies. Heading to the Gold Coast is considered a rite of passage by some, and yet others prefer the quiet independence found up the coast in the opposite direction. I’m certainly hoping that my young bloke will choose to lock himself away for that week next year, but as a Gold Coast schoolie’s attendant myself (almost 30 years ago, mind you) I won’t be begrudging him the opportunity to loosen up for a few days. I’ll be in brace mode from June, I’m guessing.
Memories of my own final high school day remain very clear. At that stage, I had no idea what my future held … immediate or longer term. I did know that I was heading into uncharted freedom, a realisation which at the time was both exciting and shit-scary. All in a good way, of course. I do remember sobbing wildly as I left through the school gates that final time … you see I’ve always been crap at goodbyes. Half an hour later, still with my classmates and with the assistance of a West Coast Cooler or two, it was clear there could or would be no turning back. School was out, for the summer, and forever.
I’m still crap at goodbyes, that much will never change, and each year when I see the Year 12s head from the school, their last time as school students, my eyes blur, clouded by teary, nostalgic thoughts and my heart rumbles for them – a little bit with excitement and some from the anticipation of unknown futures. What a wild and wonderful world they are jumping into … land safely kids, be kind to yourselves and others but please, please, please spare your parents from too much worry!
If you have a senior student finishing this year, how are you feeling right about now?
Do you also remember your own last day of high school? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Linking this friday with Grace for the wildly fabulous FYBF. Have you been there yet?