One of our favorite graduations to cover each year is at Mount Tom Academy. The ceremony on the Holyoke Community College campus is always intimate because class sizes are small and graduates are excited and open about how overcoming struggles led them to this defining moment of their young lives.
There’s something special about hearing from students who were on the brink of not making it to graduation before they enrolled at Mount Tom, an alternative educational program for high school students at risk of dropping out of school.
The academy happily said goodbye to seven more graduates on Tuesday. Graduates this year said the academy boosted their confidence, introduced new friends and gave them the opportunity to accomplish something many didn’t see happening a short time ago — moving the tassels on their graduation caps from the right side to the left after receiving their diplomas.
Whether it’s seven or 207, graduation season is here. And we at the Gazette celebrate new graduates no matter the color of their gowns. Over a several-week span that started May 10, the Gazette will cover with photos and words more than 25 college and high school graduations.
It’s something the paper has done for years because it’s important. This crowning achievement is exciting for students, a time to reflect on the 12 years it took to earn that diploma and a chance to embark on future opportunities. The next step can be intimidating, both because of what they are leaving behind and what they are about to face.
As has been the case for the last several graduating classes, the outside world is pushing its way inside schools walls — or maybe its the students inside who are pushing their way out.