Editorial: Congratulations, graduates!

To those graduating from not only Rappahannock County High School but also Wakefield, other private schools, and homeschooling . . . and, of course, college graduates who still call Rappahannock County home. Congratulations!

You make Rappahannock County proud. And we hope you’ll always be proud of your Rappahannock roots. That pride, like most finely honed wisdom, often develops years later, when you are more likely to appreciate what you once had.

Now, however, it is understandable — perhaps even desirable — to see what the world has to offer beyond this small, but special, patch of Virginia soil. Certainly, that is the way that my cohorts and I felt, decades ago, upon graduating from high school.
“We’ve gotta get out of this place if it’s last thing we ever do.” The lyrics from a popular song of the Baby Boomer era captured our mood exactly.

It’s hard to believe that Fauquier County, where I grew up, had at that time about the same number of graduating seniors from its high schools as Rappahannock does now. But now that Fauquier has grown so much, it’s hardly recognizable to natives like me. Rappahannock feels more like home.

And so one postgraduate lesson to be learned, I think, is that bigger is not always better. There’s no more beautifully insightful view of those so-called “broader horizons,” which commencement speakers often evoke, than from right here with our own backyard vistas of the Blue Ridge and its endlessly enchanting, always rolling foothills.

Walter Nicklin