Graduation Day – May 2020

Another year of graduating students!  Or was it just another year!?!  I believe this year was, shall we say, distinctive.

Let’s consider the traditional high school or college graduation ceremony.  I won’t lie – I don’t remember a damn thing about my graduation ceremonies.  I don’t have pictures of my high school graduation, and my diploma has long since disappeared into the ether.

But I do remember our kids’ graduation ceremonies (kids, don’t hate me for what I have to say).  We got dressed up in a dress or coat and tie (shoot me).  We worried about getting the kids out the door and to the venue on time, parked ¼ mile away from the church where it was held, and sat jammed in next to others in horribly uncomfortable chairs.

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The event was somber.  There were endless speeches by who-knows-who, perhaps some education board member up for reelection.

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It seemed like a thousand graduates would stand in line to receive their diplomas, while all you really cared about was your own child.  You waited in line to get in, and you waited in line even longer to leave.  Our kids would meet us in the parking lot afterwards, where there would be a few obligatory photos, and then we would bolt home after getting out of the parking lot to get changed into comfortable clothes.  Oh, how I miss the good old days!  Right.

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Now let’s transition to yesterday’s graduating ceremony, which we held in our front yard for the neighborhood graduates.  The participating students did a graduation walk up to our house to the sound of cheers and Pomp and Circumstance, where ceremonies were to be performed.

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We wanted to be responsible and set up to be socially distanced.

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There were congratulatory signs and balloons – thanks to all the sign makers, decorators and balloon people!

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We had a DJ (thank you DJ Tango!) with music, which was just fabulous.

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People wore shorts and flip flops.  Perhaps an adult or two had a cold beverage.  While Oprah Winfrey was originally scheduled to deliver the commencement address, we had to go to Plan B and settle for some gibberish by one of the locals – yours truly.  I suggested the graduates 1) ask better questions, 2) set their core principles, and 3) recognize the amount of love that exists to support them in their efforts – whatever they choose to do.

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Diplomas (and a small bag of Smart Food!) were handed out to the attending high school graduates, eighth grade graduates, and one college graduate.

There was a LOT of laughter.  There was a LOT of love!  There was no traffic.  The adults and kids hung out after the ceremony to talk and laugh.  But the day was about the graduates.

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There was photo taking.  And more music.  And fireworks (thank you Pete)!

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Afterall, we were in the hood.  Neighbors who did or didn’t have graduating children came out regardless to cheer on these graduates.  Perhaps the graduating seniors couldn’t give two hoots about the ceremonies (completely normal), and maybe even feel they were robbed of a “legitimate” ceremony.  I don’t see it that way, but then again it was not my graduation.  All we can do as neighbors and friends, in some small way, is show love and support for these fine young people and encourage their efforts.

Congratulations graduating students!  Woo hoo!!  Nicely done.

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