Congratulations to the Class of 2017

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tis the season for graduations. Little kids are graduating from kindergarten. Others from middle school and still others from universities. The best of all, in my opinion, is the graduation from high school.

I graduated in 1967 so this is the year of our 50th Reunion. I’m looking forward to that night in October when I will see classmates, many of whom I haven’t seen in decades or maybe since our graduation. We will talk, laugh, and lie as if it were only yesterday.

One of my favorite country songs was written by the Reid brothers, Don and Harold.

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You might know them better as one-half of the Statler Brothers. The song is The Class of ’57. It is such a truthful depiction of what happens to a high school graduating class.

“The Class of ’57 had its dreams,” the chorus goes. It continues, “We all thought we’d change the world with our great work and deeds.”

The verses to the song mention many of the graduates by name and tells what they’re doing at the current time. Their situations are good, bad, and far different from their hopes and dreams as they graduated from high school.

On one hand, the hopes and dreams of the Class of ’57 are much different from the Class of 2017. In 1957 there were no such things as personal computers, individual cell phones, televisions that could get a hundred channels. In 1957 I would imagine Shotwell Street in Bainbridge looked much different.

On the other hand hopes and dreams are the same. Hopes and dreams are not made of “stuff” like all the modern technologies and stores that we see today. Hopes and dreams are on the inside of a person and, in that way, the hopes of 2017 graduates would be similar to any other year.

There is a saying about hope. It springs eternal according to Alexander Pope who coined the phrase in 1732. If there was a Class of 1732, it too would have its hopes and dreams.

“Hope springs eternal” means that spiritually and mentally healthy graduates are going to always think that their best days are ahead. They are going to be optimistic about what they can do with their lives despite what goes on around them. Hope springs eternal in the hearts and minds of graduates of 1957, 1967, or 2017.

As a world and as a country we depend upon the hopes and dreams of our young graduates. At Sutton Chapel, we have one graduate this year. Ryan Whitaker is reaching for the stars. He is going to study aerospace engineering and may become an astronaut one day. How is that for dreaming?

It is a trite saying in many ways, but the young people are our future. It’s easy to criticize the young for playing the sorts of games they play. We see them as preferring their cell phones to actually talking to a human being. I don’t remember what we were attached to back in 1967, but I’m sure we were criticized for whatever it was.

In the song Class of ’57 the Reid brothers told us truthfully that our expectations and hopes and dreams soon meet the reality of the world. The world is a very tough adversary. The Class of 2017 will bang heads with the world, too.

I still have hopes and dreams although they change along the way.

It is my hope today that this new graduating class will be more successful than any other class as they try to change this world for the good.