EDITORIAL: Celebrate: For many Valley families, graduation special this year

In recent days, Rio Grande Valley high school seniors are participating in commencement exercises. Similar ceremonies at local colleges and universities have taken place in recent weeks. We congratulate all those who have capped off their primary education and earned their diplomas, especially in light of the special challenges they have had to endure during the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected their matriculation for the past three scholastic semesters.

For many families, graduation and family gatherings to celebrate their seniors’ achievement is the first major event they have had in more than a year, and it’s only made possible by recent releases from government restrictions imposed on travel and public gatherings.

Graduation is a major rite of passage and accomplishment, a time when many young people finally feel like they’re adults. Families that have supported them throughout their scholastic careers also can feel a sense of relief and accomplishment.

And so, it’s a time for celebration, and we say, pull out all the stops and have a great time — you’ve earned it

Throughout the pandemic, this newspapers has generally sided with the voices of caution in hopes of minimizing the effects of the deadly coronavirus as much as possible. We frequently advised people to stay home minimize contact with others and maintain the highest standards of hygiene possible. While we hope many of those precautions continue as basic good habits, we recognize that at some point people need to enjoy the fruits of their sacrifice. With COVID-19 numbers declining and public restrictions on public behavior lifted, celebrating the graduation of friends and family members is a great opportunity to renew bonds with the people we’ve been forced to avoid since last spring.

To be sure, some precautions remain; many schools are liming the number of people who can attend commencement ceremonies for each graduate and some restaurants and dining halls still ask that people continue to wear face masks and take other precautions whenever possible. Some reception halls might have people taking everyone’s temperature, just to be safe.

But most people have had to endure even harsher precautions during the past year.

For many families the end of school also officially kicks off the summer vacation season, and they have many more options for travel and public events than they had a year ago. Musical acts and other performers are starting to go on tour again, and playhouses and other entertainment venues are starting to open their doors again.

To be sure, this isn’t a time to throw caution to the winds — it never is. However, it appears that the worst is behind us and we can begin to shake off the burden of constantly worrying about contracting a potentially deadly virus every time we leave home.

So best wishes to our new graduates and their families. May this achievement open doors to a bright future, and may they enjoy the kind of celebration they deserve.