There is so much that defines a school year, but ever since I was lucky enough to fall into the American School Foundation family in 2011, the one single ceremony that brings the reality of life marching forward without being stopped – has been the Capping Ceremony. As I have done in previous posts, I always am curious where this tradition started, I never experienced such a moving ceremony aside from graduation.
This time in searching I found the usual tradition that nurses go through upon their first year of service. With a little more searching, I found that this was a traditional practice held amongst elders and those entering adulthood in Chinese culture.
No matter, nothing I realize, no matter how far and wide I search, can truly define the feeling I get when I am sitting there, waiting to say goodbye to one life I have known some very personal and special students, and saying hello to a new door that is opening to their lives. I find myself reverting to a child, asking questions such as , “When will we ever be all together again? Will be be all all together ever again? What happens now? Will we forget the moments we hold so close to our hearts over time, even with fighting to hold them close? Will we ever feel this way again? Why does this all have to change so fast? Why now when we are just getting comfortable with each other? Has it really been more than one year, maybe two, even three?”
Of course, amid the questioning, feelings well up and I feel my heart expanding, expanding, and feeling as if ready to burst at the exact word that will just set all these thoughts, with the rushing emotions loose uncontrollably. All of this, in one ceremony. Despite the importance and beauty of graduation, there is just something – the realization of last moments, last lunches, last hugs, a sense of saying goodbye that just floats around at the ceremony – and words that just never seem to capture such a moment still hang in the air.
Having the privilege of sitting at a table with Monica Avila, Alice Kanitz, and Alia Suhaimi is a large enough memory that will follow me to the ends of the earth, but add to the fact they chose me out of so many other so may cool and inspiring teachers that surround me, I still can’t get my head wrapped around that one. Without saying a word, just that reality caused me to pause and feel as if I have just climbed Everest. If nothing else, the importance of taking advantage of every moment, holding onto every memory makes days like these bittersweet and for ever remembered.
The lunch always goes way too fast, and before we know it, students are grabbing their gowns, caps, and we are herded into the Fine Arts Center and smack, right in front of me we as teachers witness the students in graduation regalia and realize what e have complained about taking so long to occur, is happening to fast. The reality of a life without some amazing individuals we have just plain become used to in our lives, allowing us to hold our heads high through the best and worst days of our careers, is staring right into our faces.
I always knew that moments, those moments that matter way beyond gifts give n indicate the bond and tie that exist between individuals. The tradition of gifts being exchanged is always a tradition at capping and yet, the best, absolute personal gifts are the moments I get to have that last hug and smile before the very individuals we cap walk across the stage as a graduated senior. Nothing would be different this day, as having Monica, Alice, and Alice so close and sealing the finality of several years of so many adventures, we all realize in that moment, our lives have grown alot more, along with our hearts, as we roll through the scenes we have all played in through the last few years.
For me, I wish I would have simply extended out a few more of those moments, any moments, again, as I realize that the reality of our moving forward and putting distance between us as a reality, is a positive and exciting one, but one that at the same time drags me down a little in seeing things so differently without them.
Capping is perhaps my all time favorite ceremony that I feel completely honored to be involved in. Whether I am asked to be capping or not, I still find myself so nostalgic and thankful to be witness to such an amazing ceremony – but I know deep down, the capping of these young ladies this year burns it’s permanency into my heart and memory.
Yet, I would see two remaining important ceremonies, the Athletic Awards and Graduation that would reveal some end of the year realizations that made this 2014-2015 year one of the most memorable. Stay tuned for those moments coming up!