In Switzerland High School graduation ceremonies are not really part of the culture. I always read about these celebrations and have seen them in movie scenes but it never really hit home. It was, therefore, with a neutral feeling that I was watching Expat boy preparing his gown and cap and heading off to rehearsals yesterday morning.
Arriving at the Maison de la Radio later that day under a torrential rainfall I was ready to sit through a two hour ceremony in order to reach the fun part: the cocktail dinatoire and the socializing with all the other parents.
Little did I know what an uplifting and unforgettable moment I was about to experience. I was ready for the emotional part with two packets of tissues but totally taken by surprise how much the inspirational speeches, glorious music and improvised testimonies of community spirit touched me. Despite being well aware that it is this unique characteristic that the kids school is known for, I thought it was all about going through the motions. Well, I was wrong!
The music accompanying the students' entry onto the stage was glorious and underlined the emotional moment. Expat boy claims the full meaning of graduating hit him the minute he walked on stage.
The embracing space of the venue, the contrasting colours of stage and gowns, the students happy faces, the teachers relief intrinsically palpable, the sharing of personal experiences, the outburst of foresighted guidance - and yes, love - while remembering those who aren't with us any longer was truly moving.
The ceremony was well organized and flowed smoothly with the appropriate amount of serenity and humour to lighten things up when the moment was right.
The two hours flew by and I felt proud for each and every one of the kids standing up and collecting their diploma. Some stumbling over their caps others over their heels but all with an aura of happiness and satisfaction at having reached - with much hard and tireless work - the moment which seemed nearly impossible just a few months ago.
Last night my boy has graduated and today he is off on his way. He has his life ahead of him and as the saying goes: There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other wings. Roots to know where home is and wings to fly away and exercise what they have been taught!
I am sooo proud of him!