Here's to you, Class of 2005 graduates

June 05, 2005|by TONY MULIERI

It has been nearly 40 years since someone leaned over and whispered the word "plastics" into Dustin Hoffman's ear in the 1967 movie "The Graduate."

The plastics industry apparently was about to take off at the time and with a wink of an eye and a knowing look, Hoffman was told that that was the career move he should pursue as a recent graduate.

What would someone whisper into a graduate's ear today?

That's the million-dollar question.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I know that many young people in the area are facing that question as they walk across the stage this spring to grasp a diploma or degree.

For a long time, The Herald-Mail would cover the North High and South High graduations each spring, plus a smattering of area college ceremonies.


Then, the editors got together a couple of years ago and thought, why not cover as many of these graduation events as we can? So now you see stories about all of the county's public high schools and some from the nearby counties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well.

Graduations always make for great photos and there literally are hundreds of stories to tell.

It is a milestone in one's life when time seems to stand still as you climb that mountain, take a deep breath and then go on with the rest of your life. It is that crossroads into adulthood.

In the graduation ceremonies I have attended in recent years, I've been amazed by the speeches given by the valedictorians or salutatorians, the two top students in the graduating class. Their speeches seem to have so much wisdom. Maybe they were just born older.

And graduations draw so much emotion from those attending. For the parents, it is a time to be proud, and even to cry because they know things will never be the same. For graduates, it is a satisfying and an exhilarating time. And for families, it is a time to celebrate, take plenty of pictures and reminisce about how it all transpired.

I can remember attending "graduation" ceremonies at John Wesley Day Nursery in the mid-1980s. It was cute to see 4- and 5-year-olds walk across a stage to receive a "diploma" for "graduating" nursery school. I guess they passed sandbox and kept their coloring between the lines well enough to advance.

It was cool, but even then, it was an emotional time as they were sent off to kindergarten and then first grade. It was a steppingstone, of sorts. Parents get emotional during these times because those small children are like a part of them moving across that stage, taking that next step.

We've all been there.

But graduation from high school and college is so much more. And I think that is why the newspaper has devoted so much space to these events. It is a time to celebrate the good things that young people do and a time to reflect on what it took to get there.

They don't just hand you a diploma or degree, you have to earn that. And that's something worth writing about.

Congratulations to the class of 2005.

Tony Mulieri is managing editor of The Daily Mail. He may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7647, or by e-mail at

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