Graduation Day

When I graduated from high school, the year was 1973 and the future – even with war, inflation, and changing social values – looked bright.  For many of us it was.

Fast-forward almost 40 years.  The world is a very different place.  But to Andrew and Claire, who graduated from high school this weekend, this is their rite of passage to a new world full of equal parts promise and challenges.  I can’t imagine even 1% of what their world will be.  Seriously, as recently as 10 years ago did you figure you’d be sending kids pictures to your family via Facebook or watching movies on smart phones?  Could we have conceived of the rise – and possible fall – of suburbia, at the same time that some cities are booming and others are losing population at an alarming rate?  How many of my generation – in 1973 – would have seen China as the biggest economic superpower in parts of the world?  Would we have imagined that the Boston Red Sox would ever win a World Series, much less two?  Well, we do still have the Cubs, so some things never change.

(Blog interruption:  And let’s not even go into how 40 years passed and I have high school graduates.  Heck, my younger sister has grandchildren out the wazoo!  I’m just a late bloomer, I guess.  Now,  back to the regularly scheduled blog.)

Our approach to raising Andrew and Claire was to give them the best education we could, share our values, support their growth into adulthood, and love them every step of the way.  The last part has been easy.  On Saturday and again today we saw the fruits of the first three decisions.

Andrew (St. Albans, 2011) and Claire (Maret, 2011) have received top notch educations.  The schools are very different, but fit the personalities and needs of our children.  The graduation ceremonies reflected the DNA of the two schools.

Andrew’s graduation, held in the Washington National Cathedral, was full of academic gowns, bishop and clergy, tradition, and…tradition.  I enjoyed the commencement address, because rather than following the “predictable path…framed around pursuing your passion,” this speech spoke to the class of 2011 about deciding what type of man you will become (this is an all-male school, mind you).

You see, life will present a multitude of opportunities through which you will choose the character that will form the contours and relationships of your life. Natural gifts are fulsome for some and spare for others; but character—character is there in great abundance, for all of you. My message is not about discovery. It’s about decision.

That message fit the values of the school and is one that privileged young men and women – as well as all of us who live in relative wealth compared to the rest of the world – need to hear.  So the pictures below of Andrew’s graduation show the tradition of the pomp and circumstance of the cathedral…along with the tradition of a good cigar after graduation!

Claire’s graduation this morning under a beautiful sky on the school’s front lawn was just as full of tradition, but it is tradition that springs from a school that nurtures a spirit where – as the class speaker described it – the football running back will have beautiful pottery in the art show and the softball player will also have a lead in the spring musical.  I also loved this commencement address, from a local entrepreneur who spoke to the value of the education the class of 2011 received…not only the academic kind but education in life.  He told this from a perspective of someone who was kicked out of St. Albans as a junior.  The comments from his high school report cards were hilarious AND instructive.

So here are photos from the weekend, beginning at the top with the twins giving each other a hug after Claire’s graduation.  I hope you enjoy.

And now after a week or more of all twins all the time, we’ll return to our regularly scheduled blog.

More to come…

DJB

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