It’s been a whirlwind of end-of-school events and graduation … and community sports. It’s been an emotional weekend for me for so many reasons.

The first reason is due to the retirement of two very fine teachers who also happen to be friends of mine. Ken and Annamaria Myers were guests of honor at an open house hosted by the Port Allegany Music Boosters.

It was a lovely event held Friday afternoon. There were students currently enrolled in the PASD, former students, other teachers — some still teaching, others also retired and music teachers from other towns, most also retired.

The Boosters had a banner for everyone to sign, great food from the Port Freeze and decorations, some photos of the Myers over the years and the highlight of the event was the singing of Hand in Hand, the traditional finale for the Showcase performances for many years.

The alumni and current students made a semi-circle around the VMI Banquet Room and, directed by Brianna Bizzaro (sorry, I don’t remember her married name) sang this very special song after a brief introduction given by another alumni Susie Kelley (also, I’m not sure of her married name).

Susie told of former students writing to the composer of Hand in Hand who offered a few words to Ken and Annamaria. These words became a forward to a book of photos and memories gathered and edited by Susie.

As the song began, so did the tears; there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was nothing new for me. I think I cried each time I heard that song at the end of each Showcase performance for two reasons: because it is a great song with a great message and because it meant that Showcase was once again done for another year.

Most people never realize how much they mean to others. I’ve said this before when talking about Pastor Randy. I’m pretty sure Pastor Randy knew he was loved and appreciated through our many Pastor Appreciation months, birthday parties and church congregation gatherings.

I’m pretty sure Ken and Annamaria are a little more aware of how loved and appreciated they are, too.

I was thrilled to touch base with so many PAHS “kids,” now grown adults and catch up on where life has taken them. The whole event was great! I feel blessed to have been able to attend.

Following that, we headed right to graduation. Every year, I pray for the members of the PAHS classes — this year, the Class of 2019.

I pray they will enjoy their graduation day and make decisions to serve them well for the rest of their lives. I pray that when it is time for a five- or 10-year reunion, they will all be here to once again celebrate with their classmates. I pray for their health and happiness.

I have followed these kids around for 13 years, give or take a year or two and, as I say every year, they have been amazing!

Some grads have had a fairly easy time making it to the stage with the support of their loved ones and “the village” that raised them; others have made it all on their own. Some are sweet and kind and some are just fighting to survive.

They each have their own story and no matter how many buttons they have pushed along the way, I pray for smooth sailing for their days to come. Congrats to the Class of 2019 and especially to Kierra Keck, a member of our church family who holds a very special spot in my heart.

Friday was also the second year that we have not had my dad to celebrate with on his birthday. I refuse to be sad about it but instead remember all the great times.

It’s sometimes hard to remember back when Dad was so active and always doing something with us. I often just think of the past few years when he was still warm and loving and funny, but pretty much sat in his chair, wanted to go for a ride in the car or needed to be helped into church or into the Moose for Rotary.

Those years were few and not the norm, but that’s what I seem to remember most. He’s got some good people to share his birthday with in heaven. He would have been 96 this year.

Saturday morning was another emotional tribute, this one courtesy of the Port Allegany Women’s Club. Anna Fair and I met at the home of Cheryl Brown who was the March recipient of the Above and Beyond Award.

Why are we presenting the March award on the first day of June? Well, Cheryl has moved to Maryland.

When she was nominated, we thought we would present to her when she was home for Showcase. During that time, however, she was too busy with Showcase to be doing other things.

So we waited until she came home for the musical. Again, too busy.

We wanted to present in a public place so she could be recognized, but we also didn’t want to take time away when she was busy at the school productions or to take anything away from the seniors or the Myers at the public events she attended.

When I learned she was leaving Saturday, we thought we’ll just have to present it at her home, just the three of us. So, that’s what we did.

Cheryl has been the costumer for the music/drama departments for more than 30 years and ever since I have been taking pictures for the paper. She’s always there. She is appreciated, but also taken for granted. She’s always been there and ready to help!

Cheryl was nominated by Krystal Burford. We made our presentation and said our good-byes. She will be missed!

Now that we have the March recipient taken care of we will quickly present April and May so we can finally catch up and present June. It will be a good feeling to catch up in at least one area!

After making the presentation Saturday morning, we attended Kierra Keck’s graduation party and had planned to run to Olean before the big storm hit.

Sunday was another full day of church, celebrating my daughter’s birthday with a great dinner at the Two Mile Inn and cake at Mom’s and then off to Reese Vollmer and Erin Stauffer’s graduation party. We ended the evening with a baseball game of Christian’s on Edison Bates Drive.

If you can make someone happy and it costs nothing, would you do it? It costs $0 to be kind; be kind to one another.

Pam Fischer is a lifelong resident of Port Allegany and a writer and photographer for the Reporter Argus.