This week’s post is going to be mostly for fun and entertainment. I thought I’d try something different. Sorry, no refunds! 😉
As we head into May, children everywhere look towards the end of another school year and Summer vacation. Teachers do as well, but with all the noise they make, you’re not sure if they’re happy to be out, or dreading the return in the Fall. For some, this will be the final year of school as graduation looms just ahead. This is for the Class of 2014!
Class of 1985
Yes, all right, I’m that old! I do remember life before cable, MTV (when it was good), and seeing the original Star Wars movie when it first hit the theaters. BTW, I only saw it once because, to me, I never understood the point of seeing a film more than once if you already know what’s going to happen. But, I digress.
As a child of the 70s, we started school after Labor Day, in September, and released around the first week of June. Nowadays, children start so early, you’d wonder what happened to all those fun days of Summer. Despite what people will tell you, you’re kids are not going to learn anymore starting the school year earlier.
I was an average student, pretty much the entirety of my schooling, from Kindergarten through my Senior year. Got all of the typical illnesses too(tonsillitis on a yearly basis, but not often enough to have them removed) and the brunt of it usually came in February. One year, 6th grade I think, I made up a ‘On Strike for February’ sign in my class room to protest the month just because I got sick. Got the chicken pox one year and like them so much, I shared with my sister.
The only award I ever won in high school was a certificate of completion for College Prep courses. Every class listed for college prep, were ones that I took. I guess I thought that I couldn’t go to college if I didn’t take those classes. To this day, I don’t use chemistry or biology for anything. After the graduation ceremony, my best friend, Garry, and I stood in the main hall of the school and looked at each other. I said, “Feel any different?” He said, “No.” I replied, “Me neither.”
A Rite of Passage
In the news, there has been controversy over the First Lady’s appearance at a high school graduation. Many were concerned about the number of seating, especially with family coming in from out of town or out of state. Not surprising, the Race Card was played in this situation over whether or not to have her speak.
When a petition was finally signed not to have her appear, someone online commented, “Enjoy your unmemorable graduation.” Really? After thirteen years of education to prepare yourself for the world, it’s considered ‘unmemorable’ because they don’t want to have a guest speaker such as the President’s wife? I don’t know about you, but the day of graduation is all about the students. Nothing should overshadow that fact! It’s also an opportunity to bring family together for an event that isn’t a holiday. I mean, exactly how many times does an individual graduate? Twice, if they go on to college. A lot, however, have this one moment and then go on to employment status.
Condoleezza Rice was recently offered to give the commencement speech for Rutgers University but backed out due to protests. The difference, there, is political, seeing that she was Secretary of State, during the Bush Administration, and involved with the Iraqi War. I won’t say anymore on this because this is not a political blog, but I will post what she had to say about the graduation day:
“Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families,” the statement said. “Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time.”
Ms. Rice has the right attitude in regards to graduation, be it high school or college, it’s for the students and their families. I also feel that it should be up to the students to choose who should give the address, should they decide to bring in a guest speaker. Again; their day, their choice.
My Commencement Speech
Being a writer, and a parent of two, I gave some thought to the notion of addressing students at a high school graduation. I haven’t officially written anything down, but I’ll share some of what I’ve been thinking about if I was ever given the honor. And I’d do it for free, as well!
To the graduating Class of 2014:
Today is a very important day in your life. Some will tell you that this is the end of a chapter of your life, and that tomorrow begins another chapter. I disagree with this, for the simple reason that, after thirteen years of education, today is the end of book 1 of the open-ended series called, My Life. Your life, that is. I say open-ended, because there is no given number of possible books that make up your own autobiography. Age is a factor, of course, but then, so is experience with the world.
Some of you will be heading on to college, while others will enter the workforce. Either way, you begin book 2 tomorrow and the possibilities are limitless. The diploma have earned, will open many doors for you and you will continue on your personal path as you go through life. This is a path that only you can take and only you can control. You make the decisions of which direction you will follow, which path to take when you reach a fork in the road, and how to overcome obstacles and pitfalls are you go along.
One promise I ask you to make; not just for me or for your family, but for yourself. From this day forward, promise yourself that you will continue to learn. Whether you go on to a college, university, trade school, or just enter the work industry; make an effort to learn! Read a book, write a book, take a class, or participate in some kind of event. Use whatever you do to further your education and make your future brighter than what it currently is as of right now.
Whatever you view is in regards to graduation day, be a part of someone’s special day and show your appreciation to the achievement of an education and make sure that they know you care about them. Feel free to share your memories of your own graduation day or share you opinion of guest speakers.