OPINION

Changing of the Guard

Staff Writer
Dallas County News

High school graduations are right around the corner. As the Class of 2013 leaves the stage in a few short weeks, diplomas in hand, the changing of the guard is already taking place as the spotlight shifts to the 2014 class.

And if the summer for the new seniors will be anything like it was at our house some 20 years ago, it will be busy, interesting, exciting and hectic, filled with anticipation of dreams to be realized.

That summer our son worked, as he did all previous summers, this time umpiring Little League baseball games for our city’s recreation department.

My wife Marge, the involved mother that she always was, wanted to see one of his games. So there we were, sitting in the bleachers, surrounded by young fathers and even younger mothers. About the sixth inning, one of the mothers, looking at Marge and pointing to the diamond asked, “Which one is yours?” With motherly pride “the umpire” was the answer.

The rest of the summer was spent in diligent research of thick college catalogs, glossy, glowing promotional literature, countless phone calls (folks, the Internet many years ago was not what it is today, making this job today a breeze by comparison.)

Then came campus visit — the fun part for the three of us. We made a number of trips throughout the Midwest, visiting small colleges and large universities. Our son, with Mom as a consultant, ranked his choices while eliminating others in the process.

The ranking process prematurely ended halfway through what was to be our final trip. We were in West Lafayette, Indiana, home of Purdue University. That’s when our son made the sudden announcement: “This is it. I’ll be going to school here.” He did, under protest, finish our trip, visiting two more schools but it was a moot issue with the ranking process discarded at Purdue. He already was a Boilermaker at heart.

Much later, I read an article about finding “the right fit” in the college selection process. It said that many times, the high-schooler will have what they called a “revelation” — suddenly the young person feels at home, whether sitting in a classroom, looking at a dorm, checking out the football stadium, or just walking around campus. Well, we certainly can attest to our son’s “revelation.”

So to all the young people, in search of a dream, and to parents secretly hoping that the right choice be made, may you be blessed with that magic “revelation.”