Saturday, May 22, 2010

Graduation Theme Continued.....

At least this time I'm not bitching about how many ceremonies I did or did not attend. This is a story from when my niece graduated 21 years ago.

I am sure I will get some of the details wrong. It has, after all, been 21 years. And I probably never had them right even back then.

My niece graduated from the same high school I did, which has almost nothing to do with this story.

It rained the night of her graduation, and everyone huddled in the gym waiting for the weather to break or some announcement to be made. Apparently the powers that be hadn't really planned for weather so bad that it would actually CANCEL an OUTSIDE graduation. Everyone just stood inside, milling around and filling the gym with hot air and body odor. I don't think there was an official Plan B.

After what seemed like an extremely long time but may have only been minutes, the superintendent finally decided the weather was too bad for an outside graduation and that it would be postponed until Saturday night. I heard but do not have direct knowledge that he told the principal to make the announcement, and then he (the superintendent) went home.

The poor principal did as he was told and announced that graduation would be held on Saturday night. There were loud groans of protests, probably a few boos, and a general uproar.

Then we noticed something strange. The graduating seniors had lined themselves up anyway and were MARCHING ONTO THE FIELD. They proceeded just as they had practiced, forming smart lines and going to their assigned rows. It was patently clear they weren't going anywhere without their diplomas.

The poor principal hesitated for a few minutes, unsure what to do in response to this unprecedented event. He had no one to consult, as the superintendent had (allegedly) gone home.

He didn't know what to do.

But the seniors weren't going anywhere.

So he went out there in the pouring rain and handed out diplomas. I don't even remember if the speeches were made or not. We sat through the whole ceremony in the pouring rain, laughing hysterically and having a grand old time. The seniors had ended their high school careers in epic fashion, with a ceremony that would be talked about for years.

Uh oh. Then the trouble started.

Apparently the problem arose due to the fact that 13 (or so) seniors heard the announcement to go home and come back tomorrow, and THAT'S WHAT THEY DID. They weren't in the mutinous alphabetical line of graduates who marched proudly into the downpour. They were home and dry. And diploma-less.

There was nothing else to do but have graduation AGAIN the next night for those 13 students. And the random ones who weren't headed to the beach whose parents made them come graduate again.

My niece did NOT go back the next night for the second graduation. Many of my family members did, however, just because we thought it was a hoot.

That ceremony lasted about 15 minutes. It was my favorite one ever.

The principal almost lost his job over the whole affair, which I thought was a travesty. He had no support, no superior to advise him, and he did what was probably the safest thing that night by handing those students their diplomas. He was sorely outnumbered by seniors who already had reservations in Daytona Beach and Panama City, and I didn't blame him for doing what he did. The community rallied around him, and eventually it was just something to laugh about.

I think about those two graduations every year at this time.

Sisters and niece, if I have erroneously reported any of this, please leave me a comment and let me know.


Maggie said...

It's really too bad about him getting fired. And I think going ahead and having the ceremony in the rain was awesome.

KatyDid53 said...

Like I would remember! And I was there, too!