Two students in particular I had taught for three years -- their freshman, sophomore, and junior years. I saw one of them, Osama, at the graduation -- he was a smaller kid in high school, but shot up sophomore and junior year, and by the end of senior year he's tall, confident, well spoken. I am so proud of him. Two other young men who were bemoaning being short as juniors have shot up and now towered over me. It was amazing.
I am so proud of my students, and the love for those young people was so clear in the huge mass of people standing and listening to the whole ceremony. There is a Sarah Vowell short story that describes the love of a parent as the little check marks that the father puts next to each band song in a concert, sitting through each rendition of "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor" because he loves his daughter. Graduation was similar. Despite the faulty sound system, the 500 names read out loud in rapid recession, the shaky notes of the band climbing towards the climax of "Land of the Free," and the two helicopters that flew over the field during the valedictorian speech, we were so proud of our youth.