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Getting inspired

Gary Lindstrom

There were 178 graduates at Summit High School this year. My youngest daughter graduated seven years ago and I remember there were a few more than 100 in 1995. Talk about growth.

I walked from my house to the high school. I suppose that for parents being able to walk to the high school is a good thing. For a high school student it is probably not a good thing. Too close to home. No excuse for being late.

I could not find a place to sit during the graduation ceremonies. Believe it or not, that is a good thing. Very indicative of how much our community cares about its kids. Shows that the parents, family and friends want to be close to the kids as they graduate. We are a community that cares. We especially, care about our kids.

The graduates were probably there in body but not in mind. Most of them were probably thinking about the events that led up to that day or they were thinking about what they were going to do after the ceremony. When you are older, you look back on graduation as something to be remembered. I am not sure the people graduating think about it in the same way.

I graduated from high school 42 years ago. I still remember walking to the school with my mom and dad. We lived a block from the school. The building was a complete K-12 facility. I graduated from high school in the same building in which I had started kindergarten 13 years earlier.

I had to wear a sport coat and a tie. I remember wanting to have the entire thing over so I could continue to party with my friends. I walked to the school out of respect to my parents. I was present in body but not in mind.

The only other thing I remember about graduation is my parents gave me a very nice gold Bulova watch. I still have the watch. It is in a bag in a drawer. I take it out every so often and look at it.

I have graduated from high school once and from college three times. I was probably most moved last Saturday.

There was hardly a dry eye in the place when Carlos Ebert Santos walked up the stairs and across the platform to get his diploma. We all remember his prognosis and we all remember how wrong the doctors were. Thank God they were wrong. We are so very proud of you, buddy. You are an inspiration to everyone.

Eric Mamula was the commencement speaker. His speech was excellent. He talked about being involved in the community. He talked about his own experiences that brought him to this point in his life. He encouraged everyone to become an active participant in his or her community. He asked everyone to be part of the community instead of just living in the community.

I was reminded of all the commencement addresses I have heard where the theme was always admonishing the graduates to go forth and succeed and do well and so forth. It is so refreshing to hear someone give a speech on something that is based on common sense and being practical.

It was hot Saturday by Summit County standards. I took off my sport coat and walked through the field behind the school to get to my house. A dog chased me and barked at my heels and I didn’t care. I was thinking about 178 kids and how they had made my day and inspired me to keep on keeping on.

Gary Lindstrom is a Summit County Commissioner and regular columnist for the Summit Daily News.


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