Graduates have an exciting road ahead

This weekend, more than 600 seniors will go through commencement ceremonies in their quest to officially become high school graduates.

Students from Camas, Washougal, Hayes Freedom and Excelsior high schools are this week wrapping up all of the last-minute details, and attending the events leading up to the all-important graduation day.

Finals, senior picnics, baccalaureate, senior/father breakfast, graduation practice, and cap and gown pickup are all on the schedule to be completed before they walk across that stage, in front of hundreds of family members and friends. It is a busy week that culminates with a very important day in the lives of these teenagers.

These first 12 years of public education have taken students on a path that for the most part has been laid out for them. They start in kindergarten at the tender age of 5, and with their parents’ guidance slowly make their way through the bumps, road blocks, and side roads that eventually lead to the ultimate goal of earning a high school diploma.

But what comes next for these graduates is in most cases a little less defined. Now, they will be the ones to make the decisions as to what direction their lives will take. Some will go to college, while others will immediately join the work force. Some will travel, while still others will join the military. One might argue that among these possible paths, there are no wrong choices. Each step will lead them to new experiences and challenges, and the opportunity to make more of their own decisions.

It’s an exciting time for them, and for the friends and family who have watched them grow and change over the years.