It’s high school graduation season, which made me think; why do so many people go to these things?
I remember thinking that a high school graduation was a really important event. Your whole family goes. They get dressed up. You take a bunch of pictures. The whole nine yards.
But what are you really celebrating?
I mean, how hard is to graduate from high school? Passing is a 60. That means that you can literally fail every single test and quiz you take in high school, make friends with a smart kid, copy his homework once in a while, do a little extra credit, and boom!! Solid 61. Pass.
Not that this is what most kids do, but it’s ultimately what you are celebrating. You could’ve gotten straight A’s your entire high school career, served on the student council, captained the water polo team, and discovered a new element on the periodic table. None of that separates you from the people on stage with you. For this night, you are their equal. You’re all getting the exact same recognition. So why is this such a big deal?
OK, I understand if you were some nood-nik that got by at the last minute by making up a paper you never passed in. Then you’re actually celebrating something. Realistically this is the last graduation of your life if that is the case. Ten years from now you will most likely have a successful business doing something you’re good at, and the kids who tried really hard will be $100,000 in debt from student loans and living with their parents.
I am speaking from experience. As a graduate of Worcester South High School, I walked across the stage with some real gems. You mostly only saw these kids in health and gym class, and usually they were yelling at the teacher and dancing. Somehow they satisfied the same requirements I did. Then their guests start yelling “First in the family, first in the family.” It was at that moment on stage that I realized what a worthless exercise all of this was.
And what if your last name starts with the letter “S” or “T”? You go all the way in the back. No one sees you the entire time except for the 10 seconds when your name is called. Then you shake the hands of a bunch of suits who don’t know your name and return back to your seat with the masses.
High school graduations are long and more often than not boring. By far the two highlights of the ceremony are when the graduates walk in, and then later when they walk out. If you’re in the crowd you feel like you’re paparazzi. You just stand there and wait for the one person you are there to see walk by. Then you say “nice job” if you’re a guy. If you’re a girl you hug them. Because after all, this is a HUGE accomplishment.
In between you have to listen to a bunch of cliche speeches. The class President usually goes first. This isn’t necessarily the smartest person, it’s just the person who speaks the best. To make things more interesting I recommend gambling.
- Pick any five things from this list. Whenever the speaker says one of them you cross it off. First one to finish off their list, or whoever gets the most wins.
- These memories…
- Comment about random teacher most kids found funny….
- Comment about random teacher that most kids found difficult….
- We are the future…
- As we begin another chapter in our lives…
- Thank you to whatever teacher was in charge of the yearbook…
- We came in as strangers, we leave as friends….
- Quote from a movie
- Quote from a song
- Quote from a poem
- As we go forth into the world….
- Life/education is a journey….
- We made it….
- All the hard work we’ve done…..
- We’ve only just begin….
- As one door closes…..
- It seems like just yesterday…..
- Look at where we are now…..
- We will look back at these days as happy memories….
- We have incredible talents…..
- Follow your dreams….
- Be true to yourself….
- Martin Luther King quote
- Ghandi quote
- John F. Kennedy quote
- Websters’s defines (fill in the blank) as…..
- Be true to your dreams…..
- Today is the first day of the rest of your life…..
- Don’t be afraid to fail….
There’s a lot more you could put on this list. All of them are complete BS. In reality all of these have hidden meanings. I don’t know where to start, but here goes…..
JFK, MLK and Ghandi were all killed. Chances are that about three of you listening to this have the courage to die for your convictions.
Quotes from a poem or song are meant to inspire you. In reality the speaker just couldn’t write their own material so they used someone else’s.
These memories are mostly for humorous purposes. You won’t ever take anything seriously that happened in the last four years.
All the hard work we’ve done refers to the speaker and about five other kids. The rest of you just skated by.
Look at where we are now? We’re a bunch of kids who still live with our parents.
We are the future. That is a big part of the problem.
You came in as strangers and you leave as friends. But only on Facebook.
Be true to yourself? I still have absolutely no idea what this means.
Be true to your dreams? Pretty sure most of our dreams involve lying on the beach all day. I don’t think anyone’s dream is working really, really hard.
Don’t be afraid to fail? Unless it’s a really, really stupid idea like betting your life savings on a sure winner at the race track. In that case you should definitely be afraid to fail. If you’re not afraid to fail then you’re just being a reckless moron.
So after the Class President is finished with the highlight of their lives, the valedictorian speaks. Since they use big words, only the kids from AP English understand what they are saying. They all nod in agreement.
Then the principal gets up and talks about what a special class this is. Because the rest of the classes that came before you were not special at all. They may have seemed special last year at graduation, but that’s because your class hadn’t come through yet. Now we know for sure that it is YOU who are the special ones.
In the history of graduation speeches, there has only been one worth remembering. It happened last year at Wellesley High School, when David McCullough shocked 1% of the parents when he informed them multiple times that the graduates were not special, because after all there are thousands of morons just like them who are graduating from high school right now. If you have 12 minutes, I highly suggest you watch this…
Then one of the administrators starts calling kids down one by one. When a popular kid gets called everyone screams. It sucks to be the person called after this kid. Tough act to follow. When you get half the applause that they get you look like a huge loser, even though your Mom told you several times that you are in fact cool.
Finally you’re officially pronounced graduates and you celebrate like you did something important. You walk down the aisle, see your family for a split second, and meet them later for pictures. If I could do it all over again I would just show up at the end for the pictures. No point to be there for the rest of it. Mail me my diploma of achievement.
The only important part of a graduation is the party. This isn’t a celebration of your accomplishments as a high school graduate though. Because, let’s face it, you really didn’t do much. No, it’s a celebration of the fact that you no longer have to wake up at such an unreasonable hour for at least four more years. Your parents are celebrating that you’re out of the house, and you’re celebrating the same exact thing.
So my advice to high school seniors is don’t go to your graduation. Just have a big party instead. They’re way more fun, you’re not surrounded by morons you barely know and their families, and you can just put your cap and gown on there and take pictures so you still have the priceless memories.
So what do you think? Are high school graduations really worth attending? Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.
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