York Catholic High School seniors walked across a stage and received their diplomas Wednesday night, kicking off another graduation season.

Thousands of area teenagers will follow over the next three weeks, and The York Dispatch will mark the special occasion with them.

We'll document the ceremonies with their names, stories and photos in a special section on our website.

It's a time to celebrate — not so much the graduates' accomplishments (although hats off), but for what lies ahead.

These young people probably have an idea of what to expect, and we wish them the best as they pursue their goals.

But we also hope they understand and keep one thing in mind during the journey.

The only thing certain in life is change.

We're sure they've heard that before, but we're not so certain they've seen it up close and personal.

After all, parents today are protective — sometimes to a fault.

Even after children leave the nest, some moms and dads tend to hover nearby, ready to swoop in at the first sign of discomfort.

They're called "helicopter parents."

Their hearts might be in the right place, but they're only delaying the inevitable.

People will change, circumstances will change, times will change — and our graduates will change.

It won't always be fair or easy, but it can be exciting and inspiring and lead them to places they never imagined.


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We hope they can embrace the world as it is and all the possibilities it holds.

They shouldn't be afraid to step out of their comfort zones — to try something different, meet new people, visit new places, consider another point of view.

Today's graduates don't remember a time without the Internet and social media, or when they weren't able to stay in constant contact with friends.

They're amazingly at ease with new technology — too much so, we're afraid.

York College's Center for Professional Excellence surveyed a third of America's human resource officers a few years back and found new employees were considered less professional than five years previous.

Recent college graduates who grew up glued to glowing screens just didn't have the interpersonal skills most jobs require, according to the center.

Technology is a tool, not a substitute for life.

Put it down, grads, and experience the real thing.