High school graduation means you passed all four years of high school. It means you got your diploma. It means you can go to college, or to the armed forces or to work. It means four years of memories starting to come to a close. It means you’re about to have the summer of your life with your best friends. And then three months later, start classes at your dream school.

But for many seniors, graduation means so much more.

It means you survived all of the drama.
You got past your bullies and insecurities. You moved on from that fall out with your old best friend. You let go of the heartbreak from your ex. You toughed out all of the petty girls and the mean boys and the cliques. You fought through some of the hardest battles, but you won.

It means that all of your hard work over the last four years was worth it.
Those late nights staying up and cramming for a test to get an A. All of the honors and AP courses that people didn’t think you could pass. The note cards, the highlighting. Being called a nerd for missing parties to do homework. All of that enabled you to walk across that stage proudly.

It means a chance to start over.
You get to go to a new school, with new friends, and new classes. Not everyone will know your past and everything about you. You get a chance to discover who you are as a person and figure out what you believe in. You can be yourself, and you can be happy.

It means you beat the odds when many people didn’t think you would make it this far.
When you came from a rough background, or struggled in school. When you had more obstacles than most to get through. But you proved them all wrong.

It means opportunity and freedom.
It gives you the chance to go out in to the world and do what you want. To choose a career or school that’s perfect for you. It means being able to find pride and happiness in your work and life.

Graduation means you survived the hell called high school.
It means the happiest and proudest day of some people’s lives. It’s your chance to show everyone that you made it, and that you have potential to be someone amazing and do great things in life. It means that you can accomplish your dreams, because you’ve already reached one.