10 Observations about Graduation

Tonight was my 10th graduation at Station Camp High School. A few graduation observations:

  1. I'm a big fan of short ceremonies. No graduate ever thought: "I want to stay up on stage, dressed like this, for just a little longer."
  2. A math teacher would put it this way: the volume of screaming, hooting and carrying on after the naming of a graduate is inversely proportional to the likelihood of that graduate ever completing an even higher level of education.
  3. (Caveat) The use of an air horn during the ceremony is directly correlated to the graduate's likelihood of jail time or rehab.
  4. There are honors, there are high honors, and there is getting a bear hug from the principal.
  5. Everyone walks the same 50 feet across the stage to get their diploma after their name is called, but teachers know the extraordinary effort some students spent just to get there.
  6. Advice to valedictorians: the audience isn't there to hear wisdom in your speech, they want to hear your story. And the more of your classmates & teachers you include in that story, the bigger your applause will be.
  7. On middle names: graduation is the only time in your life when you will want to hear your middle name read aloud. Parents: the rules for middle names should be (1) make it something that is resonant, that (2) any vice principal could pronounce, and (3) please stick to just one.
  8. More resonant than a good middle name: the word, "junior." Even better, "the Third." They may get you picked on in middle school, but you'll be the class of the graduate list.
  9. You know who gets the MOST applause at graduation? The graduate with the last name called. It's totally worth the wait.
  10. Regarding the graduate's mortar board/cap. By all means, throw that thing in the air when the principal announces your graduation. Even better: fling it out into the audience when you're done. You will never, ever have a need for it again.