The recent stretch of gray, rainy weather notwithstanding, we are in the midst of a season when the spirit of our communities shines perhaps most brightly.
At colleges, universities and high schools across the Ocean State, graduates will soon mark a major milestone. Family members, friends and educators will join in the celebration as these young people – clad in caps in gowns – receive their diplomas and move on to the next chapters of their lives.
The moment provides an opportunity for graduates to reflect on their journey to this point and to imagine where it may yet lead. Some will continue their studies or enter the working world. Others will serve the nation in uniform or pursue another endeavor.
Whatever their specific path, they will head out into a world that is rapidly changing. They will carry with them the lessons and values learned here in Rhode Island. And their generation will soon inherit the mantle of leadership, along with its many responsibilities and challenges.
For the broader Rhode Island community, graduation season is a reminder of time’s unending forward march.
Each student is the product of years of influence and effort on the part of loved ones, neighbors, educators and countless others. The young people who will cross stages around the state in the weeks ahead are the most tangible realization of our shared hopes for the future.
Many will leave Rhode Island to find opportunity, and we are reminded that we must do more to help our young people stay and build lives here.
The weeks and months ahead will bring, at last, the warmth of summer. Rhode Islanders will revel in our state’s natural beauty and take part in shared celebrations of family, community and heritage.
For now, we tip our cap to the thousands of local graduates for all they have achieved – and to everyone around them who helped make this moment possible.