Cambrian: Opinion

Now she can cry happy tears for ALL the kids

In case you missed the festivities of June 11 and 12, here are some highlights:

Up-do’s are apparently passé at the middle school level, long hair on girls is almost universal at the high school and really, really tall shoes are in across the board.

Except the boys — they’re wearing short hair and canvas tennies. Every one of them (it seems). Amazing.

For the 12th year in a row, I’ve had the privilege of being a part of commencement ceremonies in the Coast Unified School District. It is the best (only) perk of being on the board. OK, parking up front at said ceremonies is appreciated, too. But, getting to look every individual in the eye, shake most of their hands and — the hugs.

“I thought it was supposed to be getting easier now that our kids are long gone out of school!” my friend Kathy said as we both dabbed our eyes. It does not. For by sheer virtue of longevity in this town, siblings of our own children, their cousins and all, one winds up continuing the tradition of soggy hankies.

When I first joined the board, I told my sons, “Great, I’ve been crying out in the audience all this time, now I’ll get to do it in front of everyone!” And what an honor it is! “You got a lot of hugs this year,” came toward my ear from the crowd around the post-grads. Indeed.

Now, I’m not just saying this because my own two children were products of this district, BUT, I believe our children here truly are special.

“I love that our high school principal shakes hands with every student that walks up onto the stage, and when our middle school principal announces every student, he knows them each wow,” beamed fellow board member Cindy Fratto.

Indeed, for all the things a small school like ours may lack — large auto shops, swimming pool (maybe that could change?; and, uh, what else?) — I think the personal attention, the family-like attitude, the fabulous classes we do offer, and the staff. Did I mention the people who welcome, teach, look after and clean up after? Yes, those folks who make it so special.

Miles is 27, but I knew many kids older than he is. I’ve watched how, even in times of strife, through eras of cliques traditional at other schools, a growing of the quality of the education we offer — our kids have just gotten all the more caring, the brighter, the more genuine, the more honest. Yes, there are always stinkers. But sometimes I appreciate them more as they are just trying to do it their way.

I’m not saying we’ve got perfect human beings in our presence, but, gosh, they are really neat. Kids like Alex de Alba, our student board member for two years, is an inspiration to us adults with his positive attitude and hard work. Kids I’ve known all their lives or am close to — Melissa Mathieson, Rachel Irwin, Tommy Howard, Allie Brunschwiler, Oscar Catalan, Cameron McGurrin and others, kids you’ve watched in the incredible plays we put on, community events, kids who’ve bagged your groceries, seen around town since they were 2 feet shorter than this day.

This is why I raised my children here. This is why Cambria grows such wonderful children. The community, the staff, the parents, the families — well, we are all one family. We recognize it, we share it and it seems to get stronger every year! Congratulations to the class of 2014!