You know how graduations are more like a duty for everybody but the person giving those boring speeches? You zone out until the roster gets read, and wait for your child to shake the principal’s hand so you can snap a picture. Then you have to refrain from saying “yes” to your inner child when it asks “can we go now?”
I have to tell you, that I had the most fun with yesterday’s ceremony. I suppose it was the school and the students that made it so quirky and adorable. No kidding. It was quirky and adorable and, oh-so-casual.
My son’s school is an experimental school. It is located on the college campus of the local two-year college. The kids that go to the experimental school–Academy of the Redwoods or AR–are a collection of all the square pegs that don’t fit into the round holes of a typical high school.
Parents have nothing to do about getting their child into this school. To become a student at AR, the student has to want to be there. Period. They apply, write an essay, and are interviewed. A willingness to work and be accountable is more important than a grade point average. Most of the kids have a good grade point average, however, because there was the opportunity to take college classes along with the high school classes. And since it was on a college campus, most kids had to be pretty self-governing. And all of them were amazingly creative, determined, opinionated and spirited, as are most high school students. And quirky. I love quirky. Since there were only 73 graduating, it was less like a graduating class and more like a little tribe.
A fun collection of tribal members. I’ve enjoyed getting to know the members my son had befriended.
Two speeches, both from volunteers.
One, a student who spoke of all the support she had gotten when she just wanted to give up. She was the youngest of eight, graduated from both AR and the College of the Redwoods, and worked a job. She was also the first in her family to graduate from a high school. Bless her heart. She was so overcome with gratitude and pride and that, on more than one occasion, she had to stand in silence to regain her composure in order to complete her speech.
Second, a student who had composed a paragraph of appreciation for each of the teachers. She did cry. As did the teachers.
The diplomas were not handed out in alphabetical order. The kids could sit with their friends. They also had a color choice of gown between the two class colors: maroon or gray. The announcer, kept flipping back and forth, looking for the names. She knew who they were, she wanted to read what each student had written about their future goals upon graduation. (Very quirky, Very fun.) Amazing stuff: doctors, environmentalists, mathematicians, a musician, several with film school goals (my son being one of those), a video game designer, two future chefs, two into equine studies, etc.
Each student received a bear hug and a diploma. Each student cheered themselves and each other.
Perhaps that’s why one of the students upon hearing his name called, flung off his robe and graduated in a skintight leopard suit…
skin tight, mind you…
and without underwear…
I took a picture (heehee.)