It is true that after graduation we will all be going on to new and different things. Some will enter the job market and others will further their education. No matter what each one of us decides to do, graduation signifies the end of our high school career and the beginning of something new.

Many times graduation is thought of as the point at which our lives begin. It is the beginning of a new chapter of our lives, but there is no point in our lives at which we begin living. We are living right now at this moment and graduation does not suddenly begin our lives or make them more real.

Each of us has had a different high school experience. We entered as Freshman - frightened and unsure. Our four years at West have prepared us and shaped us. As we progressed, we discovered that although we are a unified class, we are a group of individuals, each one different and unique. Now we each walk across the stage and receive our diplomas. Our high school experience has taught us all a little more about ourselves and brought us to the point we are right now.

We are all anxiously looking forward to the future but we have to remember that only what we are experiencing at this second is real. No one can predict the future. We must have goals and dreams, but we have to realize that life is a continual process. Life does not begin after high school or after college or after marriage. Life is right now.

Michelle Meyer
Commencement of the Class of 1986
West High School
June 13, 1986

Photo: The Waist High Collection