This is the one night out of the year when I hate teaching at an alternative-type high school. Before this year there were two nights I hated it.
Our students come from two high schools in the same county, so we feel obligated to attend both graduation ceremonies. One year we even came up with the brilliant idea to have our OWN graduation ceremony TOO, so that year we got to go to THREE of them. Yeah.....no. (That's my new favorite expression, sent by text message to Spravenwriter.)
Previously we have also participated in both graduation ceremonies as if we were teachers there, which was awkward. We knew a few teachers at both schools, because all five of us have some connections to both schools. But the rest of the teachers would be looking at us and at each other, wondering, "Who are these impostors and why are they wearing real teacher-type graduation robes?" It got a little tedious.
After eight years of having separate graduations, someone in the state DOE discovered that......ohmigosh........one of those high schools is only having 179 DAYS OF SCHOOL INSTEAD OF THE REQUISITE 180.
Never mind that in every high school I've ever known about, seniors generally wrap things up about a week ahead of everyone else. It's not like teachers were grading exams right up to 3:35 today and then sending them out on the field to graduate.
Give me a large personal break.
So the order came down that we had to hold both graduations on the same night. I think one of them COULD have graduated on Saturday, but there would have been an uproar over which school had to wait an extra day, and THOSE parents would have been marching to the board office in loud protest.
Hence two graduations in one night. All the way across town from each other.
We decided our course of action would be to go to the early graduation, see our students before they marched out on the field, give hugs and take pictures, and leave. We met for dinner in between and then went to the OTHER graduation location, where we saw our students before they marched out on the field, gave hugs and took pictures, and left.
Why didn't we think of this sooner?
The students know we were there, we have the pictures to prove it, and we didn't have to sit through one boring ceremony, much less two.
I am very proud of (most of) our graduates, and I truly am delighted in their achievement. But we had approximately 30 graduates at one school and 19 at the other. Why, then, should we have to sit through the entire ceremony, listening to speeches from students we don't know (ours aren't typically the speech-making type....we're just glad they get robes and diplomas), and waiting while 350 students we don't know get their diplomas?
Besides that, graduation ceremonies in our county are NOT dignified. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It's embarrassing the way some of these families act. This year there was even a plane with an advertising banner behind it congratulating one of the graduates.
Maybe some day our county will be able to afford a nice auditorium where both schools can hold graduation on the same night, inside, out of the weather. It poured rain as the students at the early graduation were lining up, but I think the skies cleared just as it was time for them to march out. So that meant the second graduation was merely hot, humid, sticky, and oh yeah...the chairs were wet.
Lord help us if our county ever opens a third high school.
Three of these things to go to?