On June 10th, the Commencement Ceremony of Instilling Goodness Elementary and Developing Virtue High Schools of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas was held at Daoyuan (Source of the Way) Hall. This year there are two high school graduates, one boy and one girl. Both have been accepted to good universities. The junior high school graduates, fifteen boys and six girls, mostly said they would continue to study at this school.
The Commencement began with all graduates filing into the hall and making a half bow. The teachers made speeches thanking all the faculty members who have taught the students with wisdom and patience, comparing them to candles burning themselves in order to illuminate others. They also expressed their great appreciation for the parents' enthusiastic support and assistance. In addition, they hoped that everyone would cherish this rare opportunity of learning together and growing together.
After the speeches of the parents and guests, there was a ceremony for presenting awards to outstanding students and to those who have made special contributions to the school's development and growth. When silver-haired Old Bob, who prepares the firewood for students to use every day, dumps the garbage and does other chores, went on stage to receive his award, all the students stood up and cheered, and everyone was touched.
Finally, the two high school graduates spoke. Stephen Shoptaugh, a tall and strong young man, has been studying at the school since he was nine. In a humorous vein, he described how he went from being unfamiliar to familiar, from being young and fragile to being grown-up and strong. Finally he thanked all his teachers. Elegant and lovely Sonya Lee has spent four years at this high school, making it through what was for her the most difficult rebellious period of growing up. Sentimentally, she described her yearly dilemma in which she would pack her bags and leave for the holidays, vowing not to come back, and yet always returning with her bags to start school on time. She also related how she used to detest the strict teaching and supervision, yet now she cannot bear to leave the school, evoking the heartfelt laughter of the parents, teachers and students present. The ceremony ended in this amiable atmosphere.