My grandson graduated from high school this afternoon, and I watched with mixed emotions; disbelieving so much time had slipped by without notice, and knowing it would be the last generation I would see graduate during my lifetime. You get the picture; it was a happy and sad occasion, bittersweet I guess. I think as I sat there free floating seeing images of a small boy raising his arms to me to be picked up, I realized I was not really paying attention to the program.
The next thing I knew the valedictorian was stepping up to the podium, and after lying his notes out, he stood there looking across the heads of his classmates to he audience. I figured he must have floated away like I had, and forgotten what he was supposed to be doing as well. After a bit he launched into a tale that went something like this.
When you start high school you are brainwashed into believing that you must study hard and get the best grades you can so you will receive a scholarship or get accepted to the best college possible. I tell you as surely as I stand here that is a lie of the greatest magnitude, because when you apply to that great college the first thing you are asked is about clubs and associations you have joined while in high school, furthermore, you will get to write a long essay about how those associations have enriched your life. Now that is all well and fine if one has done that, but what about the student who has spent every weekend in the library, belongs to no associations. and has barely any friends. What does that student write about? That student can expect his application to be given to someone from the debate club, while the student who has spent hour after hour memorizing useless information is accepted to a college somewhere he really doesn’t want to be.
Parents and grandparents in the audience were looking at each other, students were snickering, and the principal looked rather ashen.
After that the he thanked the teachers for trying to be educators in a school system that is flawed and broken, not just here but all across the nation, and finished by telling the other graduating members of his class, ‘This will be the last good day of your life. From here on out, it’s downhill all the way.’
I can’t be sure, but I think that big spoiled baby was throwing a temper tantrum because he didn’t get something he wanted; however, he was right about one thing, from here on out it will downhill all the way, at least for him.