On June 6th, 2013, during the 69th anniversary of D-Day, my high school had the honor of graduating with six World War II veterans who were unable to graduate with their classes in the 1940’s. Before the Commencement Ceremony, while we all sat anxiously waiting, the veterans walked down the long aisles of the theater to meet us. The overwhelming feeling hit me, the feeling that everyone told me I would have: chills, excitement, tears of joy filling my eyes. All the nervousness I had felt only a few second before was gone, and I truly knew what this ceremony was about.
I expected this overwhelming feeling to first happen when I walked the hill, saw my family, or received my diploma. Instead, it came when our senior class stood with so much honor, joined together for one of the first and last times as the Class of 2013, applauding for those who had served our country. I realized that this celebration was not only for the seniors who would be graduating that day, but for all the years that had come before us, including the veterans’ and their sacrifices and accomplishments.
But after graduating, when you’ve said goodbye, taken as many photos as possible with friends and teachers, and have received your diploma, aren’t you supposed to feel closure? As if you are now starting the new chapter of your life? But even a few days after the ceremony, I still feel a connection to my high school.
Even though next fall I will be across the country, and my peers of almost five hundred will be having their very own adventures, I now understand this lingering feeling. Even when I didn’t always feel it, I have finally realized why I still feel so connected to Santa Barbara High School.
Once a Don, Always a Don.