My mom and dad always told me that one day a high school education would become a necessity if I want to have a decent life, let alone have my dream house, car or job. My dad always said that money is a man-made thing, and that a person’s true measure of prosperity lies with family ties. I thought about these two bits of wisdom on my graduation day as I waited to walk across the stage I’d helped several fellow seniors decorate. Three people were ahead of me in the line of exhilarated, nervous young adults about to walk into that gym to accept handshakes and the ultimate reward for twelve years of elementary education- the coveted high school diploma. My heart should have pounded for the excitement I felt all over my body as I thought about all the possibilities now opened in my life. I thought about everyone I met during those twelve years, about how I would be lucky to see two of them again before the first high school reunion. It was then I realized that no matter where I go, whether over to Franklin for college or across the country, I must someday return to the ones who were right there with me on my journey to that day. With this realization, I looked out at the sea of families and my eyes locked on the glowing visage of my mother. That day I learned the most important lesson one could possibly learn in grade school: through all your successes and mistakes, for everything you could possibly mess up and for the things you show the world, persistence is key.

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