It’s time, again, for graduations, and I love them. Can you believe I never got to wear a cap and gown until college! In grade school, the girls all wore short white cocktail-like dresses, while the boys wore navy blue suits. The dresses were all the same, all flouncy and silky, and I never wore mine again.
Then, in high school, we wore long white dresses – our own choosing. Some girls went so far as to wear bridal gowns. We each chose a ‘flower girl,’ either a sibling, relative, or family friend, between the ages of five and seven. Those little girls wore short white dresses of their own choosing. Once the graduates had processed in, the flower girls would enter carrying a dozen red roses, which they presented to their graduates. We had to learn to curtsey correctly when we received our diplomas from the bishop. It was all very grand, and I have fond memories of that day.
When I received my undergrad degree, I finally got a cap and gown, and then in grad school, over the gown, I wore a stole and cords in the school colors and my major. That ceremony was very long with speeches and the huge number of graduates. Having only known very dignified rites prior to then, I was disappointed in the actions around me. Many carried on conversations, there was no sign of respect, and the hooting and yelling drowned out the names of the grads. I was not a happy camper.
Then came my own children’s graduations. The older two never had early graduations from Pre-K or kindergarten, but my youngest had a full-blown event at his Pre-K. All of their eighth-grade services were beautiful, and they wore caps and gowns in the school colors, either blue and white or maroon and gold. At my younger son’s graduation from high school, the boys all wore white dinner jackets. My daughter’s three college graduations were all different, and when she got her doctorate, she wore the full regalia.
When I taught, I handled the commencement, and I poured my heart and hands into the effort. Someone once told that the ceremony rivaled any college graduation! At the school where I was principal, the event was a bit lackluster when I arrived, but I offered suggestions, and they soon became quite lovely. Since I insisted that there be no cat calling, one family had a clever alternative. When their youngest, and only girl, graduated, the held up little signs, reading, “Go Melissa!” I laughed at their ingenuity!
Now, we’re beginning again, and my little guy will graduate from Pre-K next Wednesday. I hear it’s quite a magnificent performance, and I can’t wait. Every time I hear those first strains of Pomp and Circumstance, I tear up a little. I know this upcoming one will be no exception.