Hey, kids! It is that time of year once again: Graduation.
Be it kindergarten, elementary school, high school, or university, it is an exciting time for some people. You guessed it — the parents.
Why someone thought it was a brilliant idea to have kindergarten graduation is beyond most rational folks. Those tiny humans are still learning to color inside the lines of a preprinted coloring book. And yet, the looney adult humans dress them in miniature caps and gowns for the unnecessary ceremony.
Yep. Those kindergarteners are elated to stand on a stage while Mommy, Daddy, grandparents and relatives you do not know or do not remember shout, cheer and take a million pictures.
If any of those children were even a tiny bit precocious, they might face the audience and say, “Get a grip, folks. You’re celebrating kindergarten graduation like it’s so important to our self-esteem. Well. It. Is. Not.”
Something adults forget or may not consider is their mini-mes’ possible shyness. So, for the tykes standing on a stage in front of a bunch of strangers is not a time for celebration. On the contrary, in their minds, it is a scary time.
One of our granddaughters went through such a shy stage that she would turn her back to the audience and face the stage’s back wall.
When our eldest brother graduated from high school, he brought comic relief to the occasion.
Before we tell you the rest of the story, please note that our parents, like most parents, gave us at least two names — a first and middle name—when we were born. However, our parents took it three steps further and gave him three middle names. All of them appeared on his birth certificate.
Later, when he went through confirmation, he added another name. Finally, when he joined the Army, his three middle names gave the enlisting officer’s computer fits.
Before his high school graduation, each student gave the school secretary their full name. Not only did our brother include his three middle names and his confirmation name, but just for giggles, he added the names of his two younger brothers.
Graduation took place on a sweltering Oklahoma late spring day. With over 400 graduates and families, the auditorium was more like a sweat lodge than an air-conditioned room. As our mischievous sibling stepped on the stage, he handed the card with his name to the assistant principal. When the poor man finished reading all the names, the audience was howling with laughter and clapping.
Thanks to our brother, that hellishly hot event is still a fond memory.
Our younger granddaughter graduated from high school during the latter part of the COVID pandemic. By then, gatherings such as her graduation occurred, but with six-foot social distancing.
The event was in the school stadium. Parents and families sat in the bleachers while the students’ chairs were on the field. Since the school limited the number of attendees, this lady watched the proceedings on Zoom.
Although the weather forecast was iffy, it did not rain during the lengthy event. However, the winds nearly blew away the teachers on stage, the podium, papers, and anything not nailed down.
Part of the entertainment value was wondering when and if the strong winds would blow a teacher or speaker off the stage or pick up a student, chair and all, for a whirl.
Now our eldest granddaughter will graduate from university. She chose not to walk across the stage for graduation.
Countless students pass on the pomp and circumstance. You cannot blame them because the ceremony is for the parents and not the graduates.
In retrospect, this lady and many other graduates wish they had skipped that event. It is tedious to sit for hours listening to administration-chosen speakers drone on before passing out the diplomas.
Your clueless writer did not know the diploma given out on stage was just a replica. The actual document was in the dean’s office until the students picked them up.
So, she had the dummy diploma all these years while the real one languishes in some dusty university file.