Exactly a year ago, this post went up, detailing my first experience with an Indonesian high school graduation. I remember hearing about the coming ceremony and expecting caps and gowns and something similar to what we have back home. As I detailed in the post, it was much different and it was, as often happens here, strange to be in the midst of something without knowing what was going on (if that’s not a general statement for life in the Peace Corps, I don’t know what is).
This year was different, though. I had a rough idea of what to expect, I knew about a number of the performances that some of my students would be participating in, and I was genuinely sad/proud to see some of the kids that I’ve known for the past two years finish their time at SMA Ngoro. Combined with this being one of the symbolic ends to my tenure here, it was an emotional occasion. And, as I wrote last year, again it was one of my favorite days at school.
Going through events like this for a second time has served as a marker for the time that has passed. I look back at the pictures from last year’s graduation and can notice the huge changes that have happened in that short time. My counterpart from last year has become a Vice Principal. One of my good friends has since taken her life-changing trip to Mecca. Several teachers that I didn’t know well have become good friends. And I am more in the information loop at school – enough this year to get the memo on dressing up for graduation and not wearing a normal batik shirt.
Celebrating through the graduation ceremonies with only a month to go (and now just three weeks) really brought home exactly how much I’m going to miss this place and these people.
Here are photos from this year’s ceremony (be sure to click for descriptions):