Graduation day (Pflugerville, Texas)

Yesterday, the Branch-Johnson (and now -Parzen) clan attended the high school graduation of Alexis Johnson, daughter of proud parents Holly and Terry Johnson. Alexis graduated from Pflugerville High School, home of the Panthers.

The arena-sized event, held at the Erwin Center in downtown Austin, included folks of seemingly every walk of life — from those whose kids are heading to Ivy League schools next year to those who were the first in their family to see their children graduate from high school. Alexis is headed to Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Alexis sang in the choir (above), which performed excellent versions of “America the Beautiful” and the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Outside the arena, the Six Flags of Texas waved in the warm summer breeze.

I couldn’t help but think of my graduation from La Jolla High School in 1985 and the adventures that would follow. The electricity in the air was contagious, the ineffable sensation that a new flag is about to be unfurled, no matter what the walk of life. (Memories from that time were also present in my mind because the day before yesterday, an icon of my youth and my alma mater, U.C.L.A., John Wooden passed away. Older brother Tad Parzen used to attend John Wooden basketball camp.)

Congratulations, Terry, Alexis, Grant, Josh, and Holly! I couldn’t be blessed with a more wonderful, loving, and generous extended family and I’m so proud of my cousin Alexis!

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