Twenty years. Wow. Can it really be that long?
The Worthington High School Class of 1989 is in town this weekend for its 20th anniversary class reunion. I’ve spent the past two weeks wondering what I would write for this very blog post.
On my day off from work Thursday, I dug through my video archive to find the tape of our graduation ceremony. Thank goodness for Fredi Lowry … she spent her Sunday afternoon recording such a momentous day in our lives.
I fast-forwarded the tape through the incredibly long entry (there were more than 210 students in our graduating class), listened as the choir sang “Love Theme to St. Elmo’s Fire” and “This is my Shining Hour,” and then fast-forwarded again to get to this part:
“All of you will never be together in a room again today, five minutes after this ceremony,” said Rev. Erwin Mancini. “People who have shared this tremendous journey with you for 12 years or more, you’re never going to see some of them again. That’s the truth.”
At the time, I’m sure some of us were saying, “Thank goodness!”
But things change … people change.
We are no longer defined by what we were in school … preps, jocks, stoners or loners.
Many of us couldn’t wait to get out of Worthington, to leave the baggage from high school behind. Certainly, I was one of them.
It took getting out of town and striking out on my own to find out who I really am. I’m still learning.
My high school classmates are now acquaintances, keeping in touch these days through Facebook. My true friends are those I’ve met since then … college roommates and colleagues who have been there for me time and again.
I was proud to be from Worthington, but I never thought about how Worthington shaped me … how it shaped all of us.
Watching that graduation video … listening to Mancini’s words about how we come from an area where people work hard and have values that endure … renewed my feeling of pride for this town I call home.
When I went off to college and work, I never once thought I would return to Worthington to live. Yet, here I am … working for the hometown newspaper and having my writing perused by countless former teachers.
Our Class of 1989 had some interesting teachers … 1996 national Teacher of the Year Mary Beth Blegen among them. The most memorable and zany, in my opinion, include Mr. Potts and Mr. Schmid.
On our graduation day, Mancini asked aloud the questions that may have been looming in our minds … What do I do now? Will the world be kind to me? Will I do well?
Now, 20 years later, we may be able to answer those questions … we may still be trying to figure them out.
Welcome home Class of 1989. Welcome back to Worthington … a community that is so different, yet so much the same as when we left it 20 years ago. Welcome home to the memories, the family, the friends and the classmates. May your visit be enjoyable and your return trip a safe one!