OPINION

Finding the Real: Flowers and graduates are both colorful and bright at this time of year

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Flowers are blooming beautifully in all areas of Pratt at graduation time.

I really love the bright flowers around Pratt this time of year. I love flowers any time of the year, but this spring, with all the rains we have been having this past week, they seem especially colorful and bright in the midst of graduation time.

In some ways, the flowers I see in neighborhoods and parks around town are like our recent graduates from Skyline High School, Pratt High School, Pratt Community College, Kansas Connections Academy, and more. Each flower, like a student has been carefully planted, cared for and grown in our Pratt greenhouse of educational systems and family roots. As they have been watered and fed, by teachers, parents, administrations, churches and community, each has grown to that tender age of beauty, blossom and time of transplant into a bigger, wider world.

It's oh so hard to let them go but it is something that must be done, because in order for our Pratt students to grow into full maturity they have to learn how to stand on their own against the winds that blow. Their stems must be strengthened by experiences they gain outside the greenhouse walls, their knowledge must be pollinated by outside forces in order for true beauty to shine and benefit all in the community. In the heat of day they might wilt, in the dark of night they might hang their heads, but their strength will build, and their discovery of purpose must have the freedom to expand.

I just hope as our students go forth from this wonderful small-town community we call Pratt that they know how truly special they are, how important it is to be unique in their personalities and abilities. Sometimes I think our schools, and even our families try way to hard to swallow up the differences between each growing individual and make them all the same in order for them to be successful by worldly standards. While some roots must be broken outside the pot in order to branch out with renewed strength, it is also my hope that these flower-children (not to be confused with those from the 70s) will remember where they came from and appreciate their home-town all the more as they experience the world outside of school-kingdoms.

To those who are graduating - bloom where you are planted, shine in all the glory that makes you who you are. And remember that while a garden of similar colored flowers may be striking, it is the multi-colored contrasts that truly brings beauty into our world.

But most of all, enjoy the moments of both beauty and childhood because they are fleeting, and soon it will be a new season with new goals and new priorities in life.