A lot of graduations in a short time.Posted: June 10, 2010
This year I had the opportunity to attend three high school graduations and one for a college. It’s not that my friends and family had a particularly prodigious year 18 or so years ago. My attendance was more work related.
There’s a lot to say about these events, especially after attending four of them and seeing the same things at all four.
To start out, there apparently is a requirement for all student speakers: valedictorians, salutatorians, class presidents etc. to declare their class “the greatest class ever”. This happened at all four graduations.
Because I was 4 for 4 on this observation, I’m convinced that in gyms, arenas and stadiums across the country, there were kids declaring their graduating class the greatest ever. You can’t all be right. Stop it. Thank your teachers, give love to your folks. Tell your friends you’ll miss them. Sit down.
Now, on to the stands. It is nice to sit together as a family. It is nice to sit in the best spot to get that perfect picture (which you are just plain old not going to get with your cell phone camera).
You know what might be a good idea if this is something you want to do? Show up on time.
At each graduation I saw people arrive 5 minutes before the ceremony started, or 20 minutes into it, go directly to the section facing where the graduates would come off the stage and be frustrated that it was full.
What are these people thinking? The doors opened an hour ago. The early bird gets, well, you know. Wandering in late? Sit down and shut up.
Along a similar line, I saw one woman arrive early (good for her) and then battle alone to save fifteen seats for her family who then arrived 5 minutes before the ceremony. Nice try. In short, it didn’t go well for her. The early bird has no patience for you, fifteen seat saving lady.
Now, on to people who yell out from the stands during graduation. What are you thinking?
First, here is something you don’t realize. You can’t be heard or understood on the floor at graduation. Your graduate is surrounded by several hundred classmates who are in turn surrounded by several thousand attendees. Of those thousands of attendees, there are maybe two hundred who feel the need to shout out a message during a quiet portion of the event. Their shouts usually cancel each other out. Even the first one reaches the graduates distorted and unintelligible.
Now, if you are a graduation shouter, I know this knowledge is not going to stop you. You are an idiot. Idiots are not going to change their behavior based on fact. Also, you honestly do believe that your voice and message are so distinct that your graduate is going to hear it. Let me put it to you this way – I am as confident they will hear you as I am in telling you that dress you packed yourself into really does fit.
One last observation. The amount of shouting that occurs when a particular person graduates is in inverse proportion to their class rank. The valedictorian graduates to total silence.
At the next graduation you attend, look at the honors received by a particular graduate and compare that to the amount of cheers they receive upon their name being announced. The kids with the honor society cords walk across the stage to a dignified response. The graduate whose graduation gown is completely unadorned by any indication of academic achievement has 25 people stand up and scream as if they just announced he’d cured cancer.
I have come to believe that these people who go into wild displays of cheering at graduation attend not really knowing if their child will actually graduate. Thirteen (or more) years of them just getting by is finally coming to a head. Will they actually get a diploma, or will they be snatched from line at the last moment? I’ve got say, looking at some of those parents, I’m surprised the kid made it too.
Congratulations to all this years graduates, their parents and families.
Most of all, congratulations to the teachers, administrators and even the cafeteria ladies. You truly are the greatest ever. If the world was right, people at graduation would be shouting thanks for what you do for all our kids.
This is the first of two graduation themed posts as my son’s high school graduation approaches. Both were written last year, before most people found the blog. Tomorrow, a sarcasm free post!
Also, for the record, the Hopewell High School Class of 2010 is the best graduating class ever, or at least since the Class of 1979 from Oxon Hill High School.