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Monday, June 6, 2011

Graduation Recap.

All-in-All, our three graduations this year were pretty good. Our local newspaper, The Rock Hill Herald, did a good job creating controversy before the ceremonies this year - and that always provides something to talk about on the day of the ceremony.

Cheering for the injured student to walk across the stage and get her diploma was a very emotional experience. She was brought to the stage  in a wheelchair. When the principal moved to get closer, her God Father motioned for him to stay. As Ashley moved to get her diploma, the crowd came to life. It doesn't get any better than that!

It's unfortunate  the newspaper would put this into the same category as "Go Bug". Those shouts were not inspiring or respectful. I understand 14 people were asked to leave the ceremony for shouting -  none were arrested. Does anyone learn anything from this? I doubt it. Our "Go Bug" friend had his arrest three years ago dropped by writing a letter of apology and agreeing not to attend functions for the school. Then again, maybe there are some other issues there.

There are other issues. The atmosphere was very different for the 6 pm ceremony than the one at 10 am. From the very beginning, as students walked in, there was a difference.  I wonder how much the time of day affected the crowd. The last ceremony was long - even adults get tired (and bored) when the event takes longer than it should.

So, should we change our ceremony? These are some comments I heard on Saturday:
  • Stop calling out names. Have all students stand, move their tassels, and be graduated. There would be no need for any rules on shouting since no names would be called. The ceremony would also be an hour shorter.
  • When shouters are asked to leave, take their picture and place on a wall of shame so all their friends and employers can have a good look and be proud with them.
  • Turn the event into a fund raiser. For families who would like to make noise, give them special reserved seating. $50 for one shout. $150 for a whole family shout. $500 for noise makers (air horn, drums). Those names would be moved to the back of the list. Of course, they would have to sign a waiver giving the school rights to market their behavior on youtube. They might make America's Funniest Graduations as well as providing entertainment for the rest of us. If you shout and don't pay - one night in jail as a minimum.
Just so you know, the distractions were very minor. All ceremonies were something to be proud of, as was over 1,150 students graduating. This was a remarkable day.  In our graduates were; the National Gatorade High School Football player of the year; the number one high school prospect in the country; the South Carolina Gatorade High School Volleyball player of the year and; almost $19 million dollars in scholarship money. Our district also has the new South Carolina Teacher of  The Year.

I enjoy hearing the graduation speeches. Although I have to record them because it is difficult to hear all that is said from up on stage - but judging from crowd reaction - Valedictorian Jordan Beaver must have given a pretty good speech. I also was impressed with  how he connected with the graduates coming up to the stage.  Jordan's mom, Guidance Counselor Sherrie Beaver, should be working on a book, "How To Raise Boys To Be Valedictorian" since this is her second in three years. I wouldn't want to be playing Jeopardy in that house.

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