Rows of royal-blue graduation caps and gowns covered a sizable section of the Baldwin Senior High School football field on June 23 when students, parents, teachers and administrators celebrated the school’s 109th annual commencement ceremony.
As “Pomp and Circumstance” played over a loudspeaker when the soon-to-be-graduates entered the field, cameras began clicking, with flashes firing in succession.
Throughout the ceremony, family, friends and graduates experienced a roller coaster of the emotions: shock, joy, worry, excitement, sadness and relief.
“I’m very excited, but a little apprehensive about my daughter’s transition to college because she’s Daddy’s little girl, and letting go of her is different,” said John Vera, whose daughter, Anna Stassia, was among the top five in the graduating class and will attend Cornell University in the fall.
“I’m happy, but I’m also sad because after all these years everyone has grown up and now they’re moving on,” Vera said, the emotion evident in his voice.
Vashawn Noble, who came to support her only child, a son, Tyler, maintained a cheerful demeanor during the ceremony because she is proud of him. She said, however, that she will worry about her son, who is leaving home to join the Army.
“Even though I’m nervous about the political climate right now,” Noble said, “the discipline and lifetime skills that Tyler will gain from serving his country will be an experience that I can never give him.”
Issac Facey, who will attend Lancaster Bible College in the fall, said, “It’s an extreme relief to finally be done with all the stress, even though I’m going to miss many people. It was a great experience, and I’m very happy I went through high school and got to learn many new things.”
“There are no tears in my eyes, and I’m ready to leave this school, because in high school I felt like a kid, and in college I know I’ll feel more like an adult,” said Naja Bostwuick, who will attend New York University in the fall to study global public health on a pre-med track. “I’m not nervous or sad at all because I’m excited for independence, and I’m ready for my college dorming experience.”