My wife and I were invited to two high school graduation parties this month.  These graduating seniors were not members of our extended family, but we knew them well, along with both of their families.  In both cases we were honored to be invited to their parties, and even more so because the families both told us we were invited because we were part of their graduate’s “village.”  We were honored to be included in what certainly is a group of hundreds of adults that have had a small or large part in helping these two young people reach the goal of graduating from high school.

I imagine some of you will also be invited to high school or college graduation parties this spring.  Consider it an honor to be part of a young person’s village.  As much as a graduation is a recognition of individual achievement, it is also clearly a recognition of all those who have supported the graduate.  So while the graduates are getting lots of well deserved attention this time of year, I would like to take a moment to remember all the other people who have played a supporting role in the graduates’ lives through the years.  These people may not be walking across the stage at the graduation ceremony, but they can take deep pride in the role they have played in helping a young person grow into adulthood and earn their diploma.

So, here, in no particular order, is a list of some of the additional people we want to recognize this time of year, because clearly, it takes a village to raise a high school or college graduate.  I am sure this list is not complete, so please let us know who is missing!

Parents, cross country coaches, piano teachers, aunts, neighbors, lunch room supervisors, swim coaches, pastors, brothers, school board members, alumni, donors, drama teachers, wrestling coaches, school psychologists, maintenance workers, school bus drivers, police officers, guidance counselors, friends, grandfathers, football coaches, band directors, classroom aides, gymnastic coaches, Boys and Girls Club leaders, special education teachers, school social workers, teaching assistants, chemistry teachers, donors, taxpayers, crossing guards, attendance monitors, music teachers, mentors, grade school teachers, little league coaches, creative writing teachers, golf coaches, yearbook advisers, grandmothers, volleyball coaches, drill team advisers, boy scout leaders, dance teachers, math teachers, middle school teachers, principals, rabbis, baby sitters, world language teachers, step parents, school secretaries, soccer coaches, school nurses, crew coaches, priests, employers/bosses, families of friends, vocal coaches, mock trial advisers, friends, uncles, religious education teachers, sisters, cousins, social studies teachers, hall monitors, track and field coaches, PTO and PTA volunteers, art teachers, financial aid advisers, after school program supervisors and volunteers, Science Olympiad advisors, 4-H leaders, health teachers, student government advisors, assistant principals, physical education teachers, reading specialists, pediatricians, family therapists, tutors, school newspaper advisers, Junior Achievement volunteers, English teachers, girl scout leaders, choir directors, debate club advisers, Model United Nations advisers, service club advisers, cheer leading coaches, Big Brother/Big Sister volunteers, Future Business Leaders of America advisers, Junior ROTC leaders, hockey coaches, physics teachers, Hillel advisors, music teachers, lacrosse coaches, synchronized swim coaches, step families, martial arts instructors, foster parents, speech therapists, ballet teachers, preschool teachers, classroom volunteers, school administrators, orchestra instructors, day care workers, human ecology teachers, industrial arts teachers, camp counselors, jazz band directors, youth group leaders, occupational therapists, English as a Second Language teachers, librarians, media specialists, custodial workers, curriculum specialists, security personnel, food service personnel, biology teachers, Head Start teachers, Athletic Directors, school accountants, deans of students, technology instructors….

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