I graduated from Kellenberg Memorial High School, this past June 7th. I got to the Arena at Hofstra around an hour before it began, like I was supposed to, and I met all of my old teachers on the way in, and I talked and hugged with almost all of my old classmates and friends.
My 'prom' was just three days before, and now we were really at the end of the line. I cried a wee bit, (not going to lie here!), and I did not want to let go of these wonderful people. We got into our lines, and about ten minutes later, the music started from the band, and we started to walk out. I got to my seat, and all together as one class, we sat down.
It was such a surreal experience, sitting there. I had become something like a brother to a lot of these people around me, and they became like brothers and sisters to me. I was on the floor of Hofstra's David S. Mack Arena, which would eventually become the main arena of my college. I was sitting with my homeroom, people that I had expressed all my feelings to, over the past four years.
As I watched my friends stand in front of me, get their name and accomplishments read, and then walk across the stage to Brother Kenneth to get their diploma and awards, and then sit back down, I was reminded of all the memories I had with each person. After each name was read, that persons family would make a little bit of noise, against the wishes of the announcement made by the President of the school, at the beginning of the ceremony. No one really cared in the end.
As I got closer and closer to my name being called, there was a sense of nervousness. Not nerves that I would trip and fall, or throw up, or do something stupid. They were nerves of things like, "Wow, I am done with Kellenberg. Now what am I going to do? I can't go to school without all my friends?" I am not going to lie, I was scared of the future. It was an unknown feeling. I had orientation for Hofstra, two days later on Tuesday, (I wrote about this in Memory Monday IV, (December 7th, 2015)), and I was scared of going from a very familiar place with very familiar faces, to an unfamiliar place, with complete strangers.
Then my row was standing up. We made our way as one, to the side of the stage. My friend Ryan was in front of me by a few of my friends from my homeroom, and we exchanged a handshake and I cracked a joke right before he stepped out onto the stage. Then next was the beginning of my homeroom. First was Brooke, then it was Paul, and then it was my turn to go. As they were finishing up reading Paul's achievements, Mr. Benintendi was at the top of the small set of stairs, behind the screen that was set up to 'hide' the students before they stepped onto the stage. He said "Dylan Graham Sandas?" I said "Yes", and he then said, "Congratulations! Dare to be Great Dylan!" I said no problem, smiled, shook his extended hand, and then walked out onto the stage.
I had my achievements read off, and there I was, standing right in front of my family. After my name was read off, they erupted in cheering for me. A wee bit embarrassing, but at the same time, it made me laugh, and made me realize that I made my family really, really proud of me. I was also proud of them to do their normal Sandas and Graham things, and break things that they felt were really stupid rules.
After the ceremony was over, the music started again, and we walked out of the Arena together as a class, one last time. As I was walking out, I waved towards my family, and then I looked up as I turned the corner and right above the doorway, about thirty feet up, was my Nana, waving at me, crying. I couldn't help but give the 'Paul McCartney getting off the plane in America Wave', blow a kiss like Paul McCartney does at his concerts to her, and began to tear up a bit myself... again.
I then embraced some of my friends again in the hallway down there, hugged my friends Eddie, Mark, and Willy in the stairwell walking up to the main floor, and then hugged a few others in the main lobby. I then saw my cousins, aunts, uncles, and my sister. I hugged them all so much, for so long, as they whispered words of congratulations to me. I then went inside the arena, and was met first with my Nana. We hugged it out for about a minute and a half. I wasn't going to cry, until she said that my grandfather would be so proud of me that day. I kinda lost it right there for a moment or two. Then I moved on to my crying mother, for another minute or so, and then my teary-eyed father for about two. He doesn't cry that much, and when he does, he makes this really emotional face, so when he saw me, he made that face, and we embraced as father and son, so beautifully.
As we all walked outside, I saw a few more of my friends, and we took a bunch of photos together, with my family and friends. It was such a proud moment that I will never forget, no matter how much I try.
Do you remember your High School Graduation? Did you have a similar experience afterwards with your family, like I did? Would you want to?
Quotes of the Day: "Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." - Confucius
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it!" - William Arthur Ward