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As the local high school graduations wind down — Pine Grove Area and Nativity BVM hold commencements this evening (June 7, 2016) and Gillingham Charter of Pottsville is June 10 — photos posted of all-things graduation stir a pot of emotions.

It happened Friday (June 3). A photo of my son and I from a year ago appeared on my Facebook memories feed. Jacob stood beside me with his red graduation cap and gold tassel. He held a red carnation with greens and baby’s breath. I stooped beside him and smiled with tear-filled eyes. I had remarked in the post, “My lil’ preschool graduate! And yes, when he came to hug me I got teary-eyed. My baby boy is on to kindergarten!”

Little did I know that a year to the day he would finish his last day of kindergarten.

The school district that my children attend does not hold kindergarten graduation. Still, finishing that grade is a milestone in itself. For some, it’s that first step toward independence via academia. For others, if they haven’t gone to preschool, it’s the first class in their educational years.

Jacob did well in kindergarten. He went into it reading basic words and out of it reading basic to next-level books. He often reads to me at bedtime, among the selections “Goodnight, Moon” and Dr. Seuss’ “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” and “The Foot Book.” He brought home a list of sight words to know before starting first grade and rattled them off without missing a beat. He’s also looking at addition (and I’m sure we’ll get to subtraction soon enough).

I’m not blinking, either. He’ll be participating in the fifth-grade awards program and heading for middle school before I know it!

Again, congratulations to all of this year’s graduates, from kindergarten to college. Best wishes for your futures!