Great things are done by a series of small things brought together — Vincent Van Gogh.

The month of May brings celebrations of accomplishments and achievements. From kindergarten to high school and college, graduation ceremonies are scheduled almost daily somewhere across our country.

There are many similarities among these celebrations. But what is especially outstanding to me is that before there could be an ending of their journey, a decision had to be made to begin the journey.

The journey could have started with picking up a golf club for the first time, watching the Corps of Cadets or listening to Miss Barbara’s instructions on bathroom protocol (take care of business, flush, wash hands, dry hands) — lessons learned lead to good things happening when you take care of the little things along the way.

St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School students have experienced many things this school year that, when viewed individually, seem to be small things but collectively culminated in a school year that has enriched our students’ lives both educationally and emotionally.

Chickens hatched and egg production reached the point of selling eggs on Fridays. Cabbages were planted and the largest entered into the Bonnie Plant contest to compete for the best in the nation.

Students competed at Destination Imagination, Archery, the Scripps Spelling Bee and the Private School Interscholastic Association competition, placing in the top spots and representing our school well in many areas.

They took day trips to Texas A&M and participated in STEM projects in the new Zachary Engineering Education Complex. A tour of the George W. Bush Library and the gravesites of President George and Barbara Bush helped create a historical connection.

Fifth-graders touring Washington D.C. sang in the rotunda of the Capitol as a small but confident Flash Mob, as well as experienced museums, the National Zoo and the National Cathedral.

Camp Allen, an Episcopal Camp in Navasota, gave fourth-graders a week filled with canoeing, rock wall climbing, zip lining, horseback riding and STEM activities. The confidence and responsibility learned during that week becomes icing on the cake found only through adventure and challenging times.

Education is made up of the small things that culminate in graduation ceremonies.

Taking turns, challenging yourself to study more, working hard, overcoming fears of failing and falling (off the horse, out of the canoe, down the zipline hill), changing plans and knowing things will still work out (maybe even better), recognizing creativity and problem solving are important and discovering that the past holds important lessons for our future.

No graduation speaker will ever tell you that the future is certain. It never is.

“But graduation need not only be obsessed with looking ahead; a graduation can be a day on which we turn back and trace our steps to see how we ended up where we are,” according to Taylor Mali, a TED “Best of the Web” speaker and educator.

As graduates line up for their commencement walk this month, let’s not only wish them well for what the future holds but also give them a “well done” for all the small things that led them to become great individuals who are going to take their place in the big world.

Sherry Durham is Head of School for St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School. Her email address is