Graduation Celebration

May 9th, Saturday:

Another year at Sterling is over and other than a simple breakfast for students and families leaving tomorrow, things will be quiet in the kitchen for a few days.

These past two weeks has been a flurry of activity as we prepared for the 2 day celebration. Heather, Paul, Mary, Loraine, myself and an ever changing crew of students washed, chopped, picked and harvested, tossed, roasted, sliced, boiled, assembled, mixed, baked, whipped, frosted and served. We worked 10 to 12 hour days, laughed and joked, listened to music and encouraged each other. What a joy it is to be in that space and work with such a talented group of people. They love what they do, they love what they cook and they love the students they cook for.

I sat in the foyer today, watching the seniors walk in, barefoot and smiling while the bagpipes welcomed them. I watched the faces of their parents and loved ones clap and stand and get teary eyed. I listened to their speeches, heard the laughter and found myself caught up in the ceremony and warmth of it all. Last year, I was taken by surprise how sad I felt to see the seniors leave. This year, I anticipated the sadness, yet knowing it was coming did not make it any less poignant. Yet the joy…the joy was palpable.

Anyway, now it’s time to prepare for summer where we will stay busy in the kitchen with Spring Intensive, the Summer Ag Semester, Wildbranch Writer’s Workshop and finally the Rural Heritage Institute.There is a kitchen to clean and organize, more menus and schedules to juggle and plenty of local food to pursue.

Still, just for a night, I’ll sit in my comfy chair, drinking my tea and savor the end of the year.

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