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Graduation yesterday

Yesterday was S's high school graduation. I must confess that I am still waiting for the "bittersweet" part that everyone else seems to be talking about, because I'm finding the whole thing to be purely awesome.

Okay, that is an untruth, as you will see in a moment when you read a few of the letters below. But I mean that in the overall-emotional-tenor-of-the-event way, and not in the blow-by-blow of the graduation ceremony way.

I'm not writing a letter to S here, since hey - I've already told her in person how proud of and happy for her I am. However, I feel a need to say a few things to other people. The ceremony was held in a ginormous basketball stadium, and seating was first-come, first-served. (And yes, you had to have tickets to get into the venue - but they were free to family members.)

Dear People Sitting in Section 102 with me and my family:

I am really proud of us for being the section to start the standing ovation in honor of the kids who are going into military service. Especially in today's climate, with so many troops deployed on active duty, people willing to volunteer to defend and represent our country deserve our appreciation. And I'm not just saying that because my brother was career Air Force.

With appreciation,

Dear School Superintendent:

We all get it. You're retiring next month. But dude, you were only in our district for, like, 5 years. So why on earth you thought you should speak - at length - about YOURSELF and YOUR CAREER during a high school graduation ceremony is beyond me. Save it for your retirement and the people who, you know, CARE.

While I've got your attention, you ought to know that stringing together a bunch of uplifting adages and phrases (e.g., "reach for the stars", "a thousand points of light", "never, ever give in") does not mean that what you end up with will make any real sense, no matter how good those catchphrases sound. I'm just saying that those of us who bothered to pay attention noticed your lack of actual content.

Signed: A disgruntled parent

P.S. I've got another catchphrase for you. It's "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out."

Dear Other Dude Who Spoke for No Apparent Reason:

We all cheered loudly when you accepted the idea that the seniors should graduate. I take it you noticed the collective "Oh no!" and muttering that began as soon as you launched into your gratuitous speech about how you graduated from a DIFFERENT high school and then shared that ridiculously long story about how you had friends who sang in a musical there, and guess what, some of them got together recently and sang one of those songs again and wow, can you believe it's been 27 years, and how did we get so old.

Not only did you get old, you got tone-deaf, because you should never have given that speech. It was tedious, and gratuitous, and off-topic, and completely irrelevant to kids who are in or just now out of high school. It was also boring and annoying. And guess what? It was all those things to everyone else, too.

Signed: A disgruntled parent

Dear Valedictorian:

Your speech rocked. It was well-paced and well-measured and far more cogent and inspirational than anything those two administrators had to say. Your list of life lessons learned in high school and how they apply in the real world was terrific.

Signed: An impressed parent

P.S. If you do ever run for Senate in NJ, you have my vote.

Dear Girl Who Introduced the Superintendent:

Thank you very much for quoting "the noted philosopher, Albus Dumbledore". The Harry Potter reference made me happy, as did your choice of quote: "It is our choices [] that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Signed: A fellow Harry fan

Dear Comic Relief:

You were loud when you started, and I expected you to be obnoxious, yet you totally made it work for you and were, in fact, hilarious. I am positive that your classmates loved your speech and will remember it long after the serious words are forgotten.

Signed: Love2Laugh

Dear Girl Who Spoke Last

When you say that you will be running for President of the United States in the 2040 election, I believe you. I will look for you, and if you are half as articulate by then as you were yesterday, it's likely I will vote for you. What really stuck with me was this phrase from somewhere near your closing, which I copied down at the time and have since copied into my commonplace book, with your name as attribution:

"It's great if you find success, but make your life's goal significance."

Signed: A very impressed parent

And there you have it, in a nutshell.

Kiva - loans that change lives
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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2011 04:12 am (UTC)
I love that there were students who gave memorable speeches...I don't remember a thing from my own hs graduation -- I'm not even sure who spoke. *sigh* If someone had quoted HP (um, yeah, it hadn't been written yet, but you know what I mean), I would totally have remembered that!
Jun. 17th, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC)
There was also a kid who gave a tremendously funny speech that his class will probably never forget - and I should have written a letter to him as well. In fact, I believe I'll edit the post to do so!
Jun. 17th, 2011 10:14 am (UTC)
Sounds mostly AMAZING! Congrats all around. Hope you all have a fantastic summer!

Jun. 17th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jo - still checking to see if I can make it for PEARL's party. If not, I'm hoping to take you and Peter up on that invite to visit some other time!
Jun. 17th, 2011 01:12 pm (UTC)
hahaha, i think those administrators pop up at every graduation to talk about irrelevant topics. I love that last quote about seeking significance
Jun. 17th, 2011 03:43 pm (UTC)
I loved that quote - and the Dumbledore one, which is one of my favorites of all Dumbledore quotes (I have three or four that I adore, and that was one of them).
Jun. 17th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
Sounds like there were some incredible speeches!! Congratulations to S!
Jun. 17th, 2011 03:44 pm (UTC)
There were some good ones in there - mostly from the kids, although the grade-level principal was pretty terrific, too.
Jun. 17th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
Congrats to S!

I composed quite a few of these letters in my head after our eldest's high school graduation. Sadly, her class valedictorian was just as boring as the administrators, but the worst had to be a local-businesswoman/why-is-she-here who emphasised that the next important phase in the graduates lives was to attend college in order to find a life-mate. Yes, she said that. Ugh!

Jun. 17th, 2011 03:45 pm (UTC)
Grrr. I think I'd have developed a facial tic if anyone had said something like that at this graduation - then again, given the local demographic, it's rather unlikely to occur around here.
Jun. 17th, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
After sitting through four high school graduations, it still boggles me when they bring in some odd choice of speaker who rambles on about nothing relevant to the actual graduating class. Why?? Are graduations not boring enough??

Albus--my hero. I'd forgotten about that little tidbit. Thanks for bringing it back for me. I just texted it to all my kids.
Jun. 17th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
I only have one more graduation to go. I can't imagine sitting through four of these - then again, the kids have friends (who are siblings) that come from a family of six - and one of their kids managed an early graduation and therefore graduated the same year as another - from two different high schools in our town - so they sat through two in one year!
Jun. 17th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Also, I love Albus. So many great quotes from him, and this is among my favorites. I especially liked that he was flawed - Rowling is my hero for that, among other things.
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Jun. 17th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
Yes. Tremendous hope and potential, given some of the kids from this graduating class. Three valedictorians going to Yale; three to MIT. Two of them have long expressed an interest in becoming President of the U.S., and they are 100% serious about it. So cool.
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Jun. 18th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
S's college graduation is full of Southern tradition that is meaningful and moving, so there's no way she'll miss it. Unless, of course, she doesn't graduate. And yes, I'm knocking wood.
Jun. 18th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC)
Hee hee hee.

p.s. What is a Commonplace book?
Jun. 20th, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
Love your hair.

A commonplace book is kind of like a scrap book, into which one collects quotes and such. I think I'm going to do a post on them, actually, since I get this question a lot!
Jun. 20th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
LOLOLOLOL! Love it! Especially the part about the retiring super!
Jun. 21st, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
I'm so pleased you were amused!! (Man, the retiring super was a drag - but the other guy was even worse. Not only did he have a speech, but he graduated from the rival high school on the other side of town - and that's what his speech was about!)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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