This time of year is always bittersweet; the pomp and circumstance of graduations represent endings and beginnings that are somehow even more poignant this year as COVID-19 infection numbers fall and daily life begins to look more familiar than it has in a long while.
Here are some moments from the past week that made us smile and, occasionally, wipe away a tear or two.
She's 'Most Likely to Be Grandma's Favorite'
When a grandmother in New Jersey broke her hip just days before she was supposed to fly to her granddaughter's high school graduation in Minneapolis, she resigned herself to missing the special moment.
Imagine her surprise when her granddaughter showed up in cap and gown in her hospital room in New Jersey instead!
"I wanted to take a picture with you!" she said to her shocked grandmother.
In our opinion, she just graduated at the top of her class.
... and he's 'Most Likely to Inspire Perfect Strangers'
"He's so smart, he's so kind, and I'm lucky he chose me to be his mom," Jeri Williamson says of her son Trenten, a high school senior graduating with honors despite the challenges of muscular dystrophy.
Though doctors once told Williamson her son would not live to see high school, Trenten has defied the odds — and then some. But after COVID-19 hit and he had to stay home from school to stay safe and single mom Williamson lost her job, their spirits grew bleak.
After sharing their story with the Facebook group "Grown and Flown Parents," that changed: strangers sent the WIlliamsons money and gifts, and they had enough to send Trenten to prom and throw him a graduation party to celebrate all he has accomplished.
"We did it. He made it. He did this," said Williamson, adding that her son has taught her what true strength is and inspired her.
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This high school won't forget their baseball team's lost season
Last spring, many high school senior athletes lost their final seasons to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the baseball team of Larry A. Ryle High School in Union, Kentucky. But in a moving tribute, the high school erected a plaque to commemorate the Class of 2020 seniors and their canceled season.
"In 2020, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the high school baseball season was cancelled," reads the plaque. "The senior players were unable to play their final game on this field. Coach Aylor invited them to sign a baseball that was buried under home plate during renovation.
"They will forever be a part of every run scored at Ryle High School."
The "Friends" reunion is out, and ... wait, WHAT DID THEY SAY?!
You can now stream the "Friends" reunion on HBO Max and see the whole crew together for only the second time in the 17 years since the show wrapped.
But while we're sure there are many fun and nostalgic moments, what made our mid-'90s hearts leap was an admission from David Schwimmer, who played Ross to Jennifer Aniston's Rachel.
"I had a major crush on Jen. At one point we were both crushing hard on each other," Schwimmer said as if he wasn't actually blowing our minds with this revelation.
Ross and Rachel could have been ... real? But never was? We have feelings.
Time for another binge watch.
... and speaking of one of our favorite shows
This couple? They are #goals, as the kids would say.
He's glad he did not throw away his shot!
Eighth grader Joseph Costello of Englewood, Ohio, won a full, four-year college scholarship out of 100,000 people in the state's Vax-a-Million lottery. Students were eligible if they had already received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Joseph had a sore arm for about 24 hours after he received the vaccine, but he seems pretty happy about the result!
A new tool to trace prostate cancer will help save lives
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men, coming in behind lung cancer. More than 34,000 men die of the disease each year.
One challenge of prostate cancer is that when it spreads, it often goes into bones, making it hard to detect using traditional techniques.
Now, a new imaging agent approved by the FDA will make detecting the cancer easier, giving doctors a visual aid to guide them to metastatic prostate cancer cells.
"It's redefining how we think about prostate cancer," said one doctor.
In emotional videos, teachers show the bonds they made with students this year
Even after a school year like no other that presented incredible challenges for both teachers and students, some teachers created meaningful connections and relationships with their kids.
TikTok user @mrsludewig, aka Kaitlyn, posted a video of herself saying goodbye to one of her first grade students that is both sweet and heartbreaking at the same time.
As her student Maximus cries from her computer speaker, Kaitlyn reassures him.
"Don't cry, buddy. Don't cry," she says, even as she tears up herself. "We can still do Google Meet over the summer! Just because school's over doesn't mean I'll ever stop being your teacher, OK?"
That's the truth, too: Our teachers never do stop being our teachers.
Tik Tok user @mommodeallday is a high school government teacher, and for her, the tears were for her graduating seniors. She posted a video and said she read a picture book, Cleo Wade's "What the Road Said," to her seniors on their last day of class.
"I told them that they started school with teachers reading to them, so they were going to end school with their teacher reading to them," she said.
In the book, "All things grow and change. This is the magic of being alive. You too will find your wings, you too will bloom, no living is meant to stay the same," she reads from the book.
"I'm going to miss you," she said.
There were no tears from the teachers of Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, but they still showed how much they care about their students.
"Your teachers would like to wish you a happy summer!" reads the caption of a video on the TikTok account of @funny_math_teacher, aka Ms. Callahan. Then, the teachers bust out some happy dance moves.
We love you, teachers! Happy summer!
If all else fails to make you smile, we have some moos for you
Finally, we're not sure how we fell into CowTok, but we're not mad about it. We dare you not to smile as you watch young Roxanne the Cow learn to open the house door.
She looks pretty proud of herself!
And you have probably heard of "pup cups" for dogs at Dairy Queen, but did you know cows get pretty excited about them too? Let Iowan Mason Corkery show you.
We have questions, though. Like, how did he fit a cow in his car?
Have a great weekend, everyone!