Thursday, June 7, 2012

The End of an Era

A lot has changed since I attended my first CAJ graduation three years ago.  One constant has always been the freshmen class from my first year; even as so many other faces and things about the school (and about myself) have changed, that class has been there.  They've risen steadily in the ranks, they've grown and learned, some have gone from looking up at me to looking down at me, but they've been there the whole time.  I guess if I were to try and pin down a definition of normal over the past three years, or try and come up with a list of common characteristics from year to year, that class would play a big role: while others left, I stayed, and they stayed.

Tomorrow night, the class of 2012 will graduate.  The student population at CAJ high school next year will be 100% different than it was when I started in 2009.  In fact, the students in high school next year will be (mostly) the same crowd as the ones who were in middle school when I started, just with the 8th graders as Seniors, 7th graders as Juniors, etc.  This is a strange thought--sure, I've been eased up to this moment year by year, but at this moment right now, standing on the brink of a new normal, it feels somehow more significant, as though this moment is one of the last lingering connections to my early 20s and my beginning of this adventure in Japan. 

The next school-year is only a few months away, and perhaps not much will seem to change between now and then, but graduation tomorrow night will inaugurate a new phase in my time here, at least in my mind.  I know I've written a lot about the class of 2012, particularly over the past week, but given my relationship to that class (and given that I am speaking to them tomorrow night), I hope I can be forgiven being preoccupied.  Tonight seems very quiet and peaceful.  I wish the Seniors, almost graduates a restful night's sleep, and hope that I can put my mind to rest tonight as well.  Tomorrow night marks a new beginning for them, and for myself as well.
The Class of 2012 and myself at graduation, 2011
(Man... that year felt like it was the fastest yet!)

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