I didn't realize how wonderful it was beforehand, but after attending VWCC's graduation ceremony on Friday, my kids did us a huge "favor" by graduating together. It was just a year earlier when we found ourselves in the Salem Civic Center attending my daughter's high school graduation. At that time I thought the ceremony was long, but it was over in a blink of the eye compared to Friday's.
A lot, and I mean a lot, of students graduated. That translates to a lot, and I mean a lot of cars in the parking lot, and a lot and I mean a lot of folks in the stands. We had to wait on a line where before even entering the door I was searched. Why are only the women searched, huh, huh? Anyway, we found our way to some seats where for the next three hours our butts and legs would go numb, my husband would experience a charlie horse, and our ears blasted by screams, catcalls, and air horns. It makes me wonder...are the folks who scream like mad people when a student's name is announced doing that because they never in a million years imagined they would graduate? It's annoying, rude, and not fair to the next student whose name gets lost in the cheering.
Anyway, as we were waiting for the event to begin, there were two huge screens above the stage where students spoke to their parents, God, or whoever, thanking them, etc. I joked to my husband, "Yeah, I'm sure we'll see our kids up there." Just as I said that, my son popped up! I was so stunned I dropped my camera as I fumbled to turn it on. I missed the shot. It was such a nice surprise, and the highlight of my evening. A couple of headshots later, there was my daughter! Again, I missed the shot. Lucky for us just a smidgeon of the huge student body spoke on camera, so they looped it. My husband brought it to my attention as he recognized one of the students before our kids. This time I was ready:
In case any of our relatives want to hear the kids speak, I've embedded the video from that night. Frankie starts at about 9:33 in and Marie at 10:47.
When the first strains of Pomp and Circumstance rang out I couldn't help tearing up. I caught a couple of shots of them as they passed by.
Earlier in the day, after their rehearsal, the kids had let me know they would be sitting in the first row. One of the benefits of your last name starting with an A!
They also let me know I shouldn't get too excited as they weren't going to be the first called as it was starting stage right. It didn't really matter as we couldn't "sneak out" anyway after they received their diploma. Before that happened there were numerous speeches with everyone patting themselves on the back. Academia can be so full of themselves, Ha!
The longest speech was given by a young lady who previously had been heralded in the local press, for what I can't remember, but I think it had something to do with getting a scholarship. She was chosen to speak for the students and speak she did...on and on and on and on and on. The title of her speech was "Words" and she used way too many! The speech was over 16:00 long, which was longer than any other speaker, including the dean. I kept thinking in my head of the Dave Chapelle skit, "Wrap it up Box!" She wasn't really engaging and lost the audience after 5:00. At one point later on in her soliloquy, some of the audience could take it no more, so when she paused to take a breath they began clapping wildly to get her off the stage. I felt bad, but that didn't deter her and she continued. Meanwhile, the audience started talking amongst themselves. I thought that was rude, but I think taking that much time to talk about one's self is also rude. There should be a time limit and I hope the speaker will learn from her experience. Oh and what does she want to "be?"...an English Professor, not a teacher, but a Professor. When I heard that, Professor Fritz Owl immediately came to mind:
The most succinct speaker of the evening was the Pastor who gave a one sentence blessing at the end to the effect "Lord, keep the rain away for the folks traveling home," or something to that effect. He received a resounding applause!
All in all it was a proud evening...
We went to a late night dinner afterwards at Red Lobster, which sucked. You would think a seafood restaurant would know how to cook fish! And by the time we got out of there it was quite late, so no celebrating was done at home. Not that we had any friends or relatives here who would celebrate with us, but even so, I wanted the graduates to feel special so I did decorate a little.
I'm glad it's over...and now I wish them, and all class of 2013 graduates well in their future endeavors.
"My great-grandfather used to say to his wife, my great-grandmother, who in turn told her daughter, my grandmother, who repeated it to her daughter, my mother, who used to remind her daughter, my own sister, that to talk well and eloquently was a very great art, but that an equally great one was to know the right moment to stop." ~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart