Friday, November 5, 2010
June 7, 1991
I remember it like it was yesterday.
One of the things that stood out...tears.
Not from me.
I expected this to happen. To me, graduating from high school wasn't that big of a deal. It was an accomplishment but I really didn't put a lot of stock in it. I always had my eyes on graduating from college. That's where the tears...if I had any...would come. But as I sat in my seat on this day, I would be all smiles. I noticed that more than a few of my classmates were crying.
Why? Maybe it was because they knew this would be the last time together? Maybe? I'm not sure. Maybe they didn't want to leave our high school? Our school, Wilson High School, was a special place. It was and still is a very unique place. When I was there, it was about 90% black, 10% white...yet there was racial harmony. At Wilson, there were no racial issues. If you had a friend, they were your friend...not your black friend or white friend. I grew up there. I found who I was during those 4 yrs. It was there where I made some friendships that will last a lifetime.
I had the opportunity to visit a few weeks ago as our high school celebrated its homecoming. Wilson's Homecoming is about as big as a small college homecoming...yet it's a HIGH SCHOOL. The school has been around since 1869. It was the only place where black kids in my hometown, Florence, South Carolina, could get an opportunity a shot at an education. My grandmother never finished high school but my mom went to Wilson. So did all of my aunts and uncles and cousins. The school has a great tradition. Proud and distinguished alumni. And I'm one of them.
As I reflect on that graduation day, I'm reminded of the Class of 1991. We'll celebrate our 20 yr reunion next year. It felt good to see so many familiar faces this year. I can't wait until next year. I have many many memories from high school. I could go on and on about it but I won't. One memory that stood out was graduation day. There was about 250 of us in the graduating class. I tried my best to say something to each person that day. They say that it's the last time that a class is together. And that's true. Within a month, we'd lose a class mate to a car accident. Then another one later that year. I still remember wondering why some were crying at graduation. Maybe they weren't ready to leave? Maybe they weren't ready to leave home? Or maybe they loved that place and the people so much that they didn't know how they'd move on. But they did. And so did I. But we know that we can always come home.
Do you have any memorable moments from high school?