With nearly a month or so left before Lake County seniors walk in their cap and gown and move on to their respective futures, I have a few thoughts, or maybe even recommendations. It’s been six years since I graduated high school and two since college. For some of you reading this, a soft chuckle might be had considering I’m at a pretty young age still, only 23 years old. However, parents of graduating seniors and seniors themselves, listen up. With a month left of high school, I was ready to get out of there, as I’m sure you are. Parents, if you’re anything like my mom she was ready for the inside out socks and water bottles left around the house to disappear. I was planning my next steps and my collegiate choices, which I decided on late and ended up transferring from my first choice anyway. Everyone has been telling you that this moment comes and goes like the wind. I would know, I was there just a few short years ago. Those years have felt like a lifetime. In Lake County, some of you will stay in your respective towns and pursue your dreams there. A few of you will go away to colleges in state and even fewer of you will leave Oregon. Regardless, hold onto these last few moments of high school. I can assure you these will be the least stressful and busy years of your life. As I head into adulthood (which I’ve been told is 25 and older), I’ve kept a lot of my friends from Vermilion High School and even more from Miami University. It’s true what they say; you do meet some of your best friends in school. About 37 days separates you from the moment you throw your caps high in the sky and embark on one of the last summers of your teenage lives. For you parents, this will be some of the last times your kids are around the house helping with chores or just enjoying company. Sure it was always fun coming home to surprise my family, and I did it a lot only living four hours away from them. In Lake County, the next stop might be upwards of eight hours even in Oregon. As a college student, you’ll meet new people, start relationships or work to keep the ones you’ve made already. But I didn’t realize how fast it would all go by. By no means do I miss high school, a small town school creates more drama that I could handle and I’m sure an even smaller one is just the same. The things I do miss are the moments. Seeing the people you grew up with in the halls every day. Going to grab lunch with your mom and dad, and yes, even high school sports although I had nothing to brag about when it comes to that in Vermilion. For some of you this will be the last time you’ll take a class, play an organized sport or be close to home. There are a few moments more bittersweet than graduating high school. Trust someone who hasn’t done it that long ago. Take these last 40 or so days and make them the best with the people you’ve grown up with. One day you might move far away from home and miss them every day. High school isn’t for everyone, but it is full of messages. — S. Garrett Shaw

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