I enjoy this time of year because it shows the culmination of years of hard work.

One of the benefits of working at a community newspaper is that nothing has to explode and no one has to commit a crime or die tragically to qualify as a big news story.

One of the best examples of this was Thursday night’s Band-o-Rama in Augusta. All band students from the fifth grade through high school showcased what they learned in some cases in their first year with an instrument and others more than eight years of work developing impressive skills.

The gymnasium was full. For more than two hours, family and friends enjoyed everything from Figits, which has been the final song played by the fifth grade band for 57 years to State Street Stomp, a song written and arranged by a member of the High School Jazz Band.

Listening to all of the age groups was an obvious demonstration of how much students learn and grow from their time as kids who struggle to stay on beat until the song is finished to young adults who are able to successfully apply what they have learned over the years and compose and play their own music.

I have seen the same kind of progression at my son’s elementary school talent show. This was his fourth year at the school. Listening to some of the children sing and watching little dancers and gymnasts from one year to the next is a lesson in why intelligent, talented people choose to use their college degree in a classroom with ornery kids rather than seeking better pay.

It has to be rewarding to watch students learn and grow and know that you played a part in it.

The same is true on the athletic fields where I stand for hours each week taking pictures and shooting video of sporting events.

Each senior night, I think back to these kids and their first high school experience when they were called up to high school teams as freshmen. Those wide-eyed kids grow into team leaders help ease the transition from youth sports to varsity competition for another group of freshmen who will take the reigns from them and stand in the same spot with their parents in a few short years.

As this year’s seniors begin their adult lives, the cycle begins again for teachers and coaches who help teach and mold students to prepare next year’s class for this very moment.

I enjoy this time of year because it shows the culmination of years of hard work. This week begins a time of celebration of these accomplishments with state tournaments, baccalaureates and graduation ceremonies.

This is a great time of year.

Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette, the El Dorado Times, and the Andover American newspapers. He can be contacted at: kbush@augustagazette.com