It will soon be graduation season.
Many high school and college graduates will take one last look at themselves and their surroundings before opening that new chapter in their lives. It's an exciting, yet stressful time that I can attest to being one they will never forget.
However, this column is dedicated to a different group of "graduates." They are those who have shaped the lives of our local youth, through education, mentoring and, at times, needed parental guidance.
Clay Community Schools will honor its retiring educators and other employees later this month during a dinner at North Clay Middle School. There will be honors for those who have been with the corporation for 10, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40-plus years, as well as those who are stepping down from a life dedicated to education.
Of those stepping down, there will be some big shoes to fill. Most are humble about their accomplishments and say they are just doing their jobs, but pay them no mind. Their impact goes far beyond what they can even fathom.
They will be remembered long after their gone by students they felt they never even reached. They will be the subject of stories and lessons that will be passed down from generation to generation.
And, it's not just teachers. It's guidance counselors, administrators, coaches, bus drivers, cooks and custodians who knowingly or unknowingly had an impact that changed someone's live for the good.
For me, I was lucky to have parents who did a great job of teaching me right from wrong all the while letting me learn from my mistakes. But, I also had teachers and coaches who taught me the importance of working hard and giving back, and inspired me to the best I could no matter what mood I was in.
So, for this year's graduates, life's next chapter is opening and will be written at a breakneck pace, so hang on for the ride and enjoy every minute of it. For this year's retiring school employees, a chapter is closing on a selfless masterpiece that's inspired generations whether you like it or not.