It is impossible not to be a little nostalgic during graduation season, Memorial Day weekend, and the last week of school. While we are pushing on to the next thing, we are also looking back fondly. Celebrations and remembrances are important, and they help us gain perspective and refocus on things that are important, like service, stewardship, and scholarship. They are times for family and community. Inevitably these culminating events are bittersweet, though. At the same time that we anticipate what will be, we mourn the passing of what was.

It is the rare family who hasn’t had a loved one serve in the Armed Forces, and many have had a family member or friend die serving our country. At every graduation party or year-end staff celebration, there are family members, co-workers, or friends who have passed on and are missed. In many cases these people live on in the stories that are told and the memories that area dearly held.

Every year that passes—in fact, every day we live—is an end that ushers in a new beginning. We can close the book on each day past and begin anew with a blank page. I hope that we carry with us the best we have experienced each day and that we can let go of disappointments, hurt feelings, and anger.

Whatever your current season, I hope your next end provides an exciting new beginning. We are all interconnected and all can help others experience bright tomorrows. I often think of Tennyson’s title character in his poem “Ulysses.” An aging Ulysses reflects, “I am part of all that I have met,” as he reflects on his travels. He seems to have a weariness to him, but in the end he decides that he has good days and adventures ahead of him.

Thank you for everything you do in the service of others. Something as simple as a smile or thank you can mean a great deal. We close the book on the 2015-16 school year, celebrating good days and letting the challenging times go. Best wishes for a bright tomorrow!