It was a hot summer afternoon in Downtown Sacramento as I entered the memorial Auditorium for the graduation rehearsal. My stomach was tied in knots as I sat down, my body slumped in the seat trying to hide from the world. I sat nervously as other students trickled in and awaited the principal to speak. We were instructed on to how the ceremony would go and our places in it. We were also given our caps and gowns.
I crumpled my gown and toss it in my backpack along with my cap and headed for the door. I smiled and said hey to some of the students I recognized from class, but ultimately, I wanted to remain silent until I got home. Once I had exited the building, my nerves steeled themselves once again, but I knew that in a few hours, they would become jello.
After grabbing a bite to eat, I headed home to await my walk across the stage. Passing the time was easy as I napped them away, but when my alarm awoken me, the butterflies returned. Dressing in my Sunday best, I waited for my grandfather to arrive and chauffeur me to the moment I’ve been awaiting for the last four years. There were plenty of smiles and questions as we inched closer and closer to the Memorial Auditorium and I can honestly say I didn’t want to be there. This was not due to nervousness, but the fact that I was eager to began my adult life. I had plans of working and going to college, yet the only thing holding me back was this impending event.
As I exited the car, I saw all of my peers laughing and smile as their pictures were taken by proud friends and families. I was no exception. I hugged family members as they congratulated me for finishing high school; my hands filled with money stuffed cards. This lasted for a few minutes, then it was time for the ceremony to begin.
The lights dimmed as speaker after speak spoke of the class of 2006. Students remembered their time at C. K McClatchy High School. I sat patiently for the final hour and when it did, I couldn’t have been happier.
I watched as the names of C.K McClatchy High School’s graduating class of 2006 were announced. The moment came when the name, “Harold Hughes” was called and I walked the stage. I looked out upon the cheering crowd with a pride I had never felt before; I had accomplished a feat many people give up on. For the first time in my life, I had a real accomplishment under my belt. I grabbed the rolled parchment and stopped for a photo as I was ushered down the back steps to receive my high school diploma. In my hands was the key to the rest of my life.