Monday, June 10, 2013

Ten Things I Learned At High School Graduation

by Julia Buckley

More than 800 students processed onto the field.
When my son graduated yesterday, he did so with more than 800 classmates.  The event took place in the football stadium, where somewhere close to 1000 chairs had been set up for all those assembled.  The families sat in the bleachers.  Here are some things I learned after this nice (though rather impersonal and humid) event.

1. That hatred of bleachers I had, back when I was eighteen and forced to sit in them for pep rallies?  It's still around.  I think I must have terrible balance, because bleachers always make me feel as though I am about to be catapulted down onto the field, especially when everyone comes running down at the end of an event.

2. The National Anthem is a lovely song, especially when sung with heart by a senior drama major.

3. Even though they make that announcement at the beginning of graduation saying "Please don't yell out when your child's name is called, as it could prevent other parents from hearing their child's name," there are still PLENTY of people who are willing to scream loudly, ruining the moment for the people whose special name (or names) come during their caterwauling.

4. A graduation is an august event, but when the audience is sitting in football bleachers, they'll act like the crowd at a football game.

5. It is actually possible to read the names of 800 plus students in less than an hour.  It took about fifty minutes.

6. Speeches made at graduations (I've been to three this year) no longer celebrate academia. They are all about pop culture. Today one of the valedictorians quoted Albus Dumbledore, another quoted The Simpsons, and a third went with that graduation favorite, Dr. Seuss.  And one of them spent a surprising amount of time talking about cafeteria food.

7. Sometimes teenagers are more mature than are their parents.  I base this on the young people who sat politely through several graduation speeches, while the adults around me groused about the time it was taking.

8. I now know what it would look like if tiny people in a shoe box diorama graduated.  That was about the size of the graduates from our eagle's nest view (see photo above).

9. They might be phasing out the reading of middle names.  I went to graduations for both of my sons, and neither of the name readers included middle names.  It was sort of a disappointment.
My son (left) and a friend celebrate post graduation.  His school did not opt for caps and gowns.
The boys wore black suits with red ties; the girls wore white dresses.  This is school tradition.

10. Ernest Hemingway graduated from this same school in 1917.  He would not have approved of some of the long-winded writing in the administrator's speeches.  :)

Okay--graduations over!!  Now I am bound for my niece's wedding, and so begin the summer events.  Hopefully I'll get to read some good books as I travel hither and yon, and maybe do some good writing, as well.

What are you all up to this summer?


Jeff Baker said...

My niece graduated from the same High School I went to. The guest speaker was our State Representative who had graduated the year before my Freshman year. Meaning she'd gone to school with Don Johnson! Sitting there i felt proud and old! :)

Julia Buckley said...

Haha. I know what you mean!

Jody said...

Well, since I know some academics have written about & done research on both the Harry Potter novels and Dr. Seuss, maybe they were a tad academic. 8-)
This is going to be a busy year. We've been to one Bat Mitzvah, a Catholic wedding, and have 3 more wedding to go to. One of the wedding will take place in a state park in Colorado.
My summer plans are mostly keeping up with constantly changing priorities at work and saving time & money to go to the weddings (the other two are in the fall in Wisconsin and South Carolina).
I am reading as much as I find time for, esp. my favorite mystery/history/woo-woo mixes.

Julia Buckley said...

Jody, those weddings are indeed expensive! I hope you have a great time in your summer travels.

And your reading list sounds fun!