June 12, 2018 > Editorial: Graduation
Tis the season of graduations, a transition for many students from one school to the next or departure from an academic cocoon. Often the excitement is tinged with trepidation as new challenges are presented to graduates. Commencement speeches exhort those moving on to boldly face a world of responsibility, confusion and conflict. It is comforting to know that students have been matriculating for centuries and usually seem to find their niche. In a fast-changing society, however, the stable and tantalizing goal of today often shifts dramatically within a short timeframe creating a difficult work and home environment. Fortunately, examples of those who overcome great odds and tribulations are not infrequent, so there is plenty of hope for our future.
A peek at graduates everywhere can inspire the rest of us to create a better society for them. We continue to work toward the hope and dream of providing an improved world with ample opportunities for future generations. An inspiring example of the American dream that strives for an honest and fair landscape for all residents and citizens is exemplified by a special ceremony held each year by Fremont Adult School for ESL (English as a Second Language) students. This yearÕs assembly/graduation ceremony on June 6th was highlighted by exuberant participants who have struggled to understand their adopted country, its language and customs. Diploma presentations and scholarships have a special meaning at this school. Group presentations and chants of USA are not bellicose statements of jingoistic xenophobes, rather a joyous embrace of each other and their neighbors who have gathered together from all corners of the globe.
Not only do graduates overcome tremendous obstacles of language but need support to believe that they are not alone, rather part of something great and special. It is not easy to not only work toward understanding your teacher but others in the class who have different accents, pronunciations and life lessons. A sense of camaraderie was evident, overflowing, as classmates happily interacted with each other. Performances Ð skits, songs and dance - at the ceremony reflected achievements of students moving on to other levels of education and those who will continue their connection with ESL programs and each other.
If you want to feel and understand the true miracle of our country and its inclusion of everyone, no matter what station in life, this is the gathering for you. Watching those who choose to deal with a difficult language, new customs, and sometimes a sometimes-hostile environment in order to embrace it all and each other is a wonder to behold. Although most of us share an immigrant background a few generations back, the jubilation of living in a free society where talents and attitudes are unfettered is often taken for granted even though remarkable and rare in a world context.
Ask any of those involved in the ESL program about the value of basic tenets of our country and your faith and commitment to the core values of the United States of American will be strengthened. When our leaders stray from the promise of a nation that shunned monarchies and tyrannical authoritarian regimes, we need to reaffirm our roots and promise ourselves and the world that we are a society that does not abdicate responsibility to an entitled few. At the core of our freedom is the right to freely choose our leaders and for everyone to receive an unbiased public education providing the advantage of critical thinking that separates phony charges and lies from verifiable facts. Our pledge of loyalty is not to autocrats who wrap themselves in a flag without conscience but to the soul, will and welfare of all of us.
Congratulations to all graduates of the class of 2018!