Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Graduation Day 

by Nancy L. Spencer, Head of School
Graduation implies the completion of something, a phase of life that is coming to an end. We also use the word Commencement for this end-of-school ritual. The two words offer differing perspectives because Commencement means looking forward to a new beginning, commencing a new stage of life. Of course, Saturday night, Shorecrest seniors will experience both, as the Class of 2021 graduates, and commences on to new challenges.
 
Throughout most of my children’s early years I drove them to school. I went through carline, enacting our own family rituals each morning: arguing over who got to sit where, deciding what music we listened to, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in our car when we entered the school grounds and saw the American flag waving. When my children entered high school, because we lived at their school, I knew that they would be on their own to get to their first class of the day.
 
At some point towards the end of my younger child’s eighth grade year, I realized that a phase of my life was ending. No more carline. It actually made me a little sad and nostalgic, wistful - yet at the same time relieved and excited in a way to look forward to the future. Things were changing. We were done with Middle School.
 
Yes, it was my child’s transition, her next step, but it affected me as well. And I want to suggest to the seniors that your parents may also feel this way a bit too, as their Shorecrest experience draws to a close. Certainly, Saturday night, their phase of having you as a high school student will come to an end. There’s excitement and pride in your accomplishments, but it may also be layered with a sense of nostalgia and loss. Those four years have gone by so quickly.
 
At some point parents realize that they don’t have little kids anymore. Intellectually, I knew that my children were growing older. I knew that they wanted more independence, more space, more freedom. But sometimes it was hard for me to accept that emotionally.  When I looked at my children in high school, they were both taller than I was (and stronger, my daughter liked to add). There were times when I would marvel at how they thought, what they had learned, and the many things they had accomplished.   
 
In my mind’s eye, at the same time that I saw a young man and a young woman, I also saw the babies that I used to hold. In a flash, they are an Alpha’s age, portable and adorable. I carry the duality of those images around all the time. And I am sure that I am not alone. So it’s hard. It’s difficult to gracefully accept the passage of time when you look at your children. To me, it is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of parenthood.
 
A child’s high school graduation is an important moment. It is a rite of passage, rich with ritual and emotion. One benefit of this event is that we can use the occasion to acknowledge the passing of time. We can recognize and appreciate the people around us and look forward to the future with optimism and a sense of closure.
 
Congratulations to the Shorecrest Class of 2021, and to their families, for the many accomplishments and successes! We are proud of you and wish you much luck in your future endeavors.
 
All the best,
Nancy

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.