April Ziemer

We have all seen the high school reunion movies where the class athlete of the past is reliving their glory days and their physique makes it obvious they have picked up more doughnuts than barbells in recent years. 

During the same movie it is common for there to be a character who was shy and awkward looking in high school, who pulls up to the reunion in a sports car and steps out looking like a million bucks. 

It may even be a possibility you haven’t witnessed this scene while watching a movie, but saw it in person at your own high school reunion. 

The thing is we spend approximately 13 of the first 18 years of our lives with a group of people day after day and somewhere along the way almost everyone receives a label. 

Some people are fine with their label, others not, some are completely indifferent or do not feel they were labeled much less noticed at all. After 13 plus years of navigating through hallways, feeling labeled or not you finally reach the big day…GRADUATION.

In the sea of caps and gowns are some students who may need a U-Haul to carry their awards away from the school. There are some students who barely made it and persevered right up to the last day of school to have that diploma placed in their hands. There are also a gaggle of kids who fit right between the two gamuts. 

The parents, grandparents and supporters all have an equal right to feel overwhelmed with pride as their loved one walks across that stage.

There is a mixture of emotions for the graduates. I remember being fairly happy, yet sad about graduation. I loved school. I enjoyed the staff and adored my classmates that I had spent a majority of my life with, but the future did intrigue me. There are also students who have been counting the days to get out of that place and graduation is finally the dream coming true. Regardless of your excitement level about graduating, something that is true for everybody is that each and every single one of them is now presented with a fresh start.

Whether you were comfortable with your label or lack of, you have an opportunity to be whomever you want. If it is your desire, rip that label off like a Band-Aid. You will meet new people and see new places. It is fine to stay true to whom you have been; it is also acceptable to break free from how you feel you have been perceived. 

I found high school to be easy and it was a rude awakening for me when college classes were not the same. I also had friends that surprised me with how well they immediately excelled in college. It was a tough pill to swallow feeling like you were disappointing people. It was an embarrassing feeling to be voted “Most Likely To Succeed” in May, only to feel so lost by December. In fact all these years later it is still a little uncomfortable to write about it. I think it is important though, to admit that things do not always go as planned and it is even more important to say that it is o.k. 

A grad might glide down the future path they have ever so carefully planned out or they might hit some bumps in the road, but hang on. Some may find that life throws curve balls at them and they might swing and miss a hundred times before they find their sweet spot, and that sweet spot might be totally different than the description they wrote about their future in the local newspaper. 

It is all a big exciting, scary and fresh “who knows”. Whatever lies ahead of the graduates, it is important to support each one along the way. I am no advice columnist, but I would like to say this to the Class of 2019: You are allowed to be a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously. When you walk out of those doors of the school, diploma in hand, you are just a rough draft of the person you are still becoming.

I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you and look forward to readers sharing their thoughts in return.

Feel free to email me at editor@theameryfreepress.com, write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery WI. 54001 or I can be reached by phone at 715-268-8101.


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