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A lot of graduations in a short time.

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.

I wasnt at this graduation, but I am sure this photo depicts the greatest graduating class ever.

I wasn't at this graduation, but I am sure this photo depicts the greatest graduating class ever.

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.

You know what every graduate needs to know? How to show up on time. Parents, how about showing them how by actually doing it for their graduation?

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.

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25 Comments on “A lot of graduations in a short time.”

  1. sekanblogger says:

    Amen on the thanks. Teachers are our future.
    I have some fond memories of the better ones I had. Now that I’m pushin’ 50 I can appreciate the bullshit they put up with.
    Especially from me.
    I was the class clown. We were all stoned on weed…
    Ah, the good ol days!

  2. fnord says:

    Social graces and common courtesy — yes, the world needs more of both.

  3. Keli says:

    I love the question, “what were they thinking?” which really means, if only they would stop and think.
    Yes, the people who deserve true thanks are sometimes forgotten. But the impact they make lasts a lifetime.

  4. What a nice post and how sad, but probably true that: “The valedictorian graduates to total silence.”

    Graduations are, for me, BOOOOOOOORING, and if I never have to go to another one, it will be too soon.

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you Margaret!
      You know, along the line of them being boring, if your graduates name is Aaron Aamundsen, how boring must that be? Sure, he pops up first in line, but then you’re done and have to sit there for the remainder. My son’s school graduates 600+ kids a year. That first child’s family must be dying by the end.

  5. frigginloon says:

    Oh Omawarisan,you haven’t been to a graduation in Australia have you? Bless, the little horrors down under keep it entertaining long after you remember where you parked your car!

    http://frigginloon.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/gary-rego-delivers-a-memorable-speech/

    and http://frigginloon.wordpress.com/2008/10/22/the-entire-year-12-class-expelled-at-xavier-college/

  6. HippieCahier says:

    sekanblogger :Ah, the good ol days!

    Like, yesterday?

  7. pattypunker says:

    my daughter graduates high school next week, so now i know what to expect. but damn, i was planning on hooting and hollering.

    ps: cafeteria ladies are the best!

    • omawarisan says:

      Oh yeah, loved the cafeteria ladies at my school.

      No yelling at the ceremony P…dignity…you knew she’d make it and this is just the start! Congrats to you, Mom!

  8. Kate says:

    Was one of these graduations for the Omawari-son?

    I hate, hate, hate when people show up late and expect to get the seat they want. I still remember going to see “Munich” several years ago in a theater that seats 500 people. My friend and I were sitting in the middle of the very last row. This guy and his kid come in 20 minutes into the movie — the actual movie, not the previews. They come all the way to our row and actually asked us to move down a seat. And then started talking! Man, my friend let them have it.

    • omawarisan says:

      No, the big day for the Omawari-son is Saturday. These graduations were some where I worked overtime last year.

      The late people amazed me. Some of them were actually angry that there were not seats in the front row half way through a graduation

  9. You nailed it! I’d be numb after four painful deja vus.

    Don’t apologise for the sarcasm–in fact I’d love to read a “The Valedictorian’s Speech We’d All Like to See,” with a “Do you want fries with that?” theme.

  10. Mike Boozer says:

    Nice post, I like the website

    -Mike Boozer, http://somebodyhadtosayit.com

  11. linlah says:

    Does it count if someone form your class yells when you get your diploma because you might be the first in your family to do so. Yeah, I did that for my best friend in HS and everyone heard me in an auditorium filled with 300 people. Sometimes yelling is a good thing.

  12. wordofabe says:

    This is the best blog ever.
    My son graduated in a large stadium as you describe. I couldn’t even understand the announcements, but I could see my ex-wife trying to hide from me across the stadium. She doesn’t like me, even though I am the best dad ever.

  13. Pauline says:

    My husband graduated law school recently and I gave a little cheer when he received his diploma. Three years of me being the sole earner in a household made me VERY excited to see him receive that piece of paper! I was also proud of him and wanted to express that! I don’t see anything wrong with that and neither did the many other spectators who also cheered when their family/friend were called. Some people who overcame some very serious obstacles to earn their degree received particularly loud cheers and standing ovations and good on them!

    • omawarisan says:

      and that is such a huge achievement!

      What gives me fits is the over the top demonstrations we see around here. There is so much screaming and posing that it often drowns out the next 2-3 graduates. I’ve seen it get ugly a few times.

  14. Pauline says:

    O.k. if it “drowns out the next 2-3 graduates” then yes, that is dumb and very rude.
    Small cheer=good.
    Obnoxious, drawn out wailing=Redneck-y. LOL

  15. […] Anyhow, I didn’t write for today and I’m using the youth of my community (and especially my nephew) as my excuse. Here’s a three-year-old rant about high school graduations to fill the screen today. […]


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