As we have done for more than a decade, this week’s Examiner will celebrate the amazing seniors who are graduating throughout Grimes County. We put their names and pictures in the paper; we introduce you to their intended majors and high school hobbies. The Examiner celebrates these students as if they are our own—in some cases they are, such as my nephew Mark who is in the top 10 of his class at Navasota and has committed to TAMU. He and all of his fellow graduates make me proud of this community and the things we will achieve in the future. It is because of the students’ hard-fought achievements that we put together this section each year. Yet, this special section is one of the few things that will be “normal” for the 2020 graduates from Navasota, Anderson-Shiro, Iola and Richards.
Our superintendents, school boards and faculties have made tough decisions in the past few months. Cancellations and delays have been rampant across the country with our kids missing proms, celebrations, banquets, sporting events and all the “lasts” that seniors enjoy in the spring. Last day of school parties are a big deal, that one final goodbye before we clean out the desks, give each other hugs and head off for popsicles, sunshine and beach time. When the kids return in the fall, the teachers will have a few more grey hairs and the kids will have grown a couple of inches, but in these last few days of school, as the sun begins to bake Texas and students turn their thoughts from math equations to swimming pools, we don’t think of the future or the fall, we think of the present and we remember the past school year.
My son is leaving fifth grade and heading to junior high in the fall. I don’t want to think that far in the future because you know it makes me want to cry; I want to stay at John C. Webb Elementary just a little longer, where my son is a little boy and not the young man he is becoming. I wanted to savor these last few months of “childhood” before we entered the pre-teen and teen years. This transition is emotional no matter the circumstances, but this year it feels even more so with the year being cut short. We didn’t get those final goodbyes and last-minute parties. We have things left to say, things left to do, and luckily for those of us with younger students, we will be able to return to a semblance of normal and this year will just be a blip on the radar.
Yet, for our seniors and their parents, this was the last final goodbye. The students, like my nephew, will be heading off to larger schools, bigger cities and maybe even different countries. Graduation is a major celebration; it is the ultimate payoff for hard work, and it is a joyous time of reflection. We don’t just celebrate the students’ hard work but also the parents and teachers’ sweat, tears and dedication. It won’t be the end of our tears because we will shed them again when the kids pack their cars for their new dorm rooms, but we normally can hold onto one another’s hands as our “big babies” walk the stage in the warm summer night.
Do you all remember the year of the huge flood event and the massive storms? Some of the seniors that year were stuck in their houses due to high water and downed trees, some were unable to attend their own graduations after the districts moved or postponed them. But, literally come hell or high water, we still made it happen for the kids.
This year, things are going to look different. Things are going to feel different. But that is ok, as I trust that the schools in our county will always make the best decisions to put our students and their safety first. We may not be able to celebrate like we are used to doing, but we will still celebrate. We may not be able to hold hands, but we will hold hearts. Here at The Examiner, we may not be able to take pictures of every kid crossing the stage like the proud parents we are, but we will continue to celebrate each and every one of these graduates as if they are our own—because they are. To our teachers, administrators and faculty, we will see you in the fall. For our 2020 seniors and parents, God bless each of you this week and may the memories be pleasant and the dreams bright!
Ana Cosino is a Navasota hometown gal, Navasota High School graduate, publisher of The Examiner but most importantly mom to her pride, Jason.