Commencement is simply defined as a beginning or a start. In simple terms, a commencement ceremony marks that defining moment when a student emerges from academic adventure and into the professional world. This past weekend three of my favorite young women crossed stages, received diplomas and tipped a hat to professors, friends and family members who guided them through higher education.

Mariah and Jessica Campbell both received diplomas from the University of Massachusetts. Mom Beth, grandmother Fran Flanders and close family friends Janet Weidner and Tom Ruimerman cheered the young women on as they crossed the stage and shook hands with faculty in excitement.

Another graduation took place at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Over the course of three days we attended three separate ceremonies where students lit candles, sang the alma mater, listened to speeches including one by NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson whose story was featured in the film and book Hidden Figures, and so much more. It all wrapped up with my daughter receiving a bachelor of science degree and the inevitable ceremonial packing of the car.

Life is beginning to bustle around the harbor. Shops are opening, charter boats are lining up awaiting passengers and lobstermen have set their first pots of the season. Jonathan Boyd’s Mary Sea and Scott McDowell’s Lauren C are nestled into the charter dock. Steve Broderick’s headboat, Skylark, is tied to the commercial dock with mid-June being the anticipated time frame of a first fishing trip.

The Chilmark Church is preparing for its annual Memorial Day service at Menemsha Harbor on Sunday, May 27 at 9 a.m. The service will include the blessing of the fleet. Be sure to reach out to Pam Goff if you’d like your vessel called out.

According to Nancy Aronie, everyone’s got a story and it’s time to put it down on paper. If you are interested in participating in Nancy’s Jumpstart your Memoir: Write of from Your Heart workshop on May 28-31 from 9 a.m. to noon each day, please giver her a call or check her website for details at

The selectmen have planned an informal opening ceremony of the Squibnocket bridge/causeway on May 24 at noon. The 300-foot plus raised roadway is already being utilized, the beach is virtually complete along with grass plantings and a stonewall. The official opening of Squibnocket Beach is June 15, but a quick little ceremony now also seems necessary.

Chilmark School students ask that any community members interested in joining them for their Memorial Day walk to the sea to please do so. On Friday, May 25 at 9 a.m. the students will gather at Station Menemsha to talk about the meaning of Memorial Day before walking to Dutcher Dock to say a few words, share in a musical performance and toss flowers in honor of our fallen service members. This is a longstanding school tradition to honor those that gave themselves for our country. Although Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the barbecue/picnic season of summer it is truly a day to remember those we have lost.

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