By the time you read this graduation and prom season will be over, but there is always next year and the year after that. I had not attended a graduation in a long time. This year I attended the graduation of a friend whose son graduated from Central Catholic High School. The ceremony was held at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, in Oakland. We were blessed with a beautiful day. The program began right on time and was not too long. It was very organized.

I remember back to the day in 1970–OMG it was so long ago–on my graduation day from high school at the Civic Arena, the pranksters were in full effect. In those days you brought your name on stage on a piece of paper and the school officials read whatever was on the paper. All kinds of people and “phrases” graduated from Taylor Allderdice that year. I often think what those kids’ parents thought of their prank.

I’m sure the schools caught on and stopped that procedure. Now, they read the names from a list. I can’t imagine after working for four years to get out of high school why I would want another name to be called. So it was heartwarming to see the young men of Central Catholic receive honors and read the program about their future, what school they will attend, what they will major in when they go to college.

One of the things that a graduation does for me is inspire me to do better and still take the opportunity to learn and to support young people. Even though these young people have their parents, sometimes another point of view or just a word of encouragement from another adult who is not their parent goes a very long way. I often think of good advice I have received from friends who were like parents to me and how it has helped me. Your parents may have said the very same thing but it sounds different coming from someone else.

Thanks to Facebook and working near the entrance to the Gateway Clipper Fleet I got to see many kids going to the prom. The young ladies looked beautiful. The gowns I saw this year were tasteful and colorful. The young men were handsome, many wearing a tuxedo for the first time.

This is another rite of passage that I hope young people will take advantage of; you don’t get a do over on your prom or high school graduation.  Someone posted a group of kids fighting on their graduation day in their caps and gowns—what could that have been about? It was frightening to watch.

Looking back I wish I had worked harder in high school and been a part of the honors list and the group that received scholarships but as they say hindsight is 20/20. My goal now is to pass on the wisdom to my little nephew and any other young person that will listen.

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