Cher in the City: 1985 or 2011, graduation is special

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It's graduation time! All across the country high school seniors are getting ready to walk across the stage in their caps and gowns, toss their hats and bid farewell to their last year of high school. It's got to be one of the most exciting times of a teen's life. Of course, I could be wrong, because just between me and you, I'll let you in on a shocking secret. I haven't been a teenager for a long time.

I do, however, remember feeling excited and a little apprehensive because as graduation day grew nearer I began to realize that the life that I had grown so accustomed to was about to change.

After high school graduation and our traditional Westside High senior party, all my friends would be going their separate ways.

No more drama club, no more cheerleading, no more Pizza Hut after the football games, no more first-period lunch, no more student government, no more home economics (OK, so maybe I don't exactly miss home ec but my mom still has the skirt I made all those years ago, only she thinks it's a dish warmer -- I don't really need to explain do I?), but most important, no more senior year.

I'm acutely aware that today's high school senior is probably drastically different from that of the high school graduating classes of the '80s. I mean, I certainly could not send text messages back then bidding everyone a farewell, or shoot them a note on Facebook and Twitter. Back then we wrote our parting remarks to our friends in our high school yearbook.

It's funny now to look back at the Westside High school gang yearbook; some things about the gang are not surprising, it's no surprise that Ronnie Wiggins is the principal at T.W. Josey, or that our class president, Mark Brucker, is a vet. I smile when I think about the antics of my dear friend, our Tax Commissioner Steven Kendricks back then ... Steven, Steven, Steven. The smartest girl in my high school class, Shelpa Patel, is now an internal medicine doctor, and looking back, I did think that Ashley Wright, although friendly, seemed to be generally deep in thought. She has a lot to think about these days as the city's district attorney. I could go on and on about the 1985 and 1986 graduating classes, but that would take a while, so I'll just take a senior hall pass this time.

Ahhh, yes the crazy '80s. I hope the graduating class of 2011 knows how exciting a time this is. I hope that they enjoy their friends and family this summer because next year will be a completely new adventure.

Twenty years from now, I wonder if they'll look back on their senior year and their classmates with a great deal of pride, a touch of nostalgia and a bit of amusement. I think they will.

I also think that despite technology and generation gaps, changes in fashion, music and even trends, living the high school senior life is a point of transition. Regardless of the generation, I know this: Enjoying your last summer as a high school senior is about having fun, saying farewell to your high school, having one last hooray with your good friends before you ride out on a new path and creating memories that will last you a lifetime.

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2011. Enjoy your summer!


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