A good reason to be proud

Published 9:56 pm Friday, July 29, 2016

Graduation Day is one of those touchstone events that marks a transition from one stage of life into another. It’s a day fraught with conflicting emotions for the graduates and their loved ones.

There is anticipation for the next stage of life, there is pride of accomplishment, there is a sense of expectation of great things to come and, perhaps, a bit of apprehension over the unknown. And there is an undercurrent of recognition that things will never be the same, both for the graduates and their parents.

For a small group of Suffolk students and their families and friends, those emotions came late this year, but the emotions were no less real for the delay.


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On Thursday, 38 local students received their high school diplomas at the conclusion of the city’s summer school program. Though they had not stood with the majority of their classmates during commencement ceremonies at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk in June, their achievement was just as worthy.

In fact, Suffolk’s graduating summer school class could be said to have even more reason to be proud. Each of those 38 students can say he or she finished, even when it would have been easier to simply give up.

The temptation must have been strong for them to just let the opportunity pass. As friends went on vacations or started jobs, it would have been much easier not to get up each morning and head to school for the day. As others spent the day at the beach, these students chose to do the hard work required to make up time that had been lost in previous school years.

Procrastination is a common human trait, and the thought of taking some time off and then pursuing a GED — or trying to get a job and letting the diploma slide altogether — must have been something many of these 38 students considered at one time or another.

But they didn’t give up. They didn’t put things off. They buckled down and did the work. They — and their families — deserve all the positive emotions and all the accolades they received on Thursday.

We wish them nothing but the best as they move into this new phase of life.