“Oh, the places you'll go…,” an apropos book by Dr. Seuss, is the perfect sendoff for the estimated former students from Ballinger and Winters who are now graduates.

“Oh, the places you’ll go…,” an apropos book by Dr. Seuss, is the perfect sendoff for the estimated former students from Ballinger and Winters who are now graduates.

Ahh, to wake up in the afterglow of graduation — it is an exciting, yet bewildering time because kiddos are in that gray area between being a teen and an adult and wondering what lies ahead.

“Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all…”

But grads need to remember the people they learned their lessons from — teachers and administrators and mentors and even, each other. Some educators are simply unforgettable and their impressions on students last a lifetime.

And I remember the teachers that offered a foundation during elementary school, like my second grade teacher Mrs. Scurlock, my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Hubbard and my sixth grade teacher Edmond Lang. And there are hundreds of wonderful educators today who deserve kudos as they send this year's crop of grads off into adulthood.

Not only that, the students need to thank those who will have a hand in their future, like the many benefactors who bestowed many scholarship awards to students in Winters and Ballinger. They too, have a hand in your future.

So now, it is up to you to use that knowledge.

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You're on your own.

And you know what you know.

And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

The graduation ceremonies were Friday for Winters High School and Saturday for Balilnger High. There were 67 Ballinger grads and 23 grads in Winters.

Eons ago, back in 1978, when I graduated from Permian High School, we were warned before we walked the stage at the Ector County Coliseum — behave or else. We had been told by the authorities that there would be no funny business and if there was, that diploma would not come in the mail.

Funny business first and foremost meant tossing our caps in the air as we were declared graduates. To make sure, the principals let us know that the piece of paper, tied up with a satin bow, was not a diploma and that if we tossed the caps, they would know who we were. So, we restrained ourselves.

Years later, when I would watch my daughters walk, it was quite different and the kiddos threw their caps in the air with delight. A few years after that at the Texas State graduation, the grads had decorated their caps, with LED lights, glitter and all manner of bling...

But on this graduation night, the grads also have to be careful not to overdo.

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.

Some windows are lighted. but mostly they're darked.

But mostly they're darked.

A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!

Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?

How much can you lose? How much can you win?”

So it’s off you go and congratulations to the graduates of 2017.

“Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!

There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.

And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all…”

“Congratulations! Today is your day.

You're off to Great Places!

You're off and away!”