I went to my sister's high school graduation this weekend, after a last-minute decision to be a good brother. Through no fault of my sister's, the ceremony was incredibly boring, natch. As promised, however, she did pretend to receive her diploma onstage, followed by picture-taking and the decidedly unceremonious process of waiting in line to actually pick up a diploma.
I saw Andy Lenigan there, for those of you who know who that is.
Why do school board members insist upon being on stage when students receive their diploma-holders? Who decided that every kid in the district must shake hands with not only their favorite teacher and their principal, but also five idiots they've never seen before in their lives? That seemed to be a waste of precious time that could have been spent reading names at a faster pace.
I went to the graduation expecting to hear a lot of names. Indeed, if you are in the mood to hear a lot of names, this is without a doubt the place to be (if you prefer your name consumption in animated text form, especially names of movie stars, I must again direct you to the horrible Ocean's Twelve teaser). In fact, I heard even more names than I was expecting, so I can't complain I didn't get my money's worth.
But I had forgotten, until the dreadful moment when I sat down and looked at the stage and memories of my own graduation* came flooding back, that I would also have to suffer through trite speeches by the (exclusively female) saludi- and valedic- torians. Speeches about how grades are important, but the most important thing is having fun with your friends and having memories to treasure.
Oh, and leaving for Cornell to study Biochemistry; so long, all you suckers who focused exclusively on the memory-building.
This last part no one said, but I wanted them to.
I feel the last thing smart kids need to do in their speeches is to pat mediocre students on the back and make them feel good about the fact that they had fun and that it's okay that they didn't work as hard. No! They are failures and you are a success; that's why you're on the stage talking! Say so! Rub their faces in it. Especially if you really did achieve simultaneous academic and social success, remind people how you are better because could do both and they could manage only one!
Unfortunately I was only able to achieve upper-medium smartness and was never afforded this outlet for expression. I wish I had been a -torian of some sort.
But not a historian. Laaame!!
* My memories of my own graduation included me being very sick and miserable as I sat in the hot sun and listened to many names (but not as many as this time!).
Addendum: Stephanie was a valedictorian and I'm sure her speech was excellent, whatever it was.