Saturday, May 29, 2010

Graduation Memories

I'm feeling kind of ancient. My nephew Brian is a 2010 graduate of Skyline High School. In itself, that wouldn't make me feel old. But it was 35 years ago this month since I graduated from the hallowed halls of Skyline High.

The gym was pretty much the same, though they have renamed it the Thunderdome. I sat on the same bleachers where I had run the stairs during basketball practice. I listened to the same "Pomp and Circumstance" that ushered us toward our graduation 35 years ago.

There were some changes. The practice gym where the graduates had their reception didn't exist back in 1975. The Skyline blue of the graduation gowns worn by the 2010 girl graduates was a little paler than the 1975 version. Our male graduates wore the same color, not the white chosen by Brian's class.

Brian and I had another thing in common: Both of us gave a valedictory graduation speech. I wish I could find a copy of mine. I remember starting to write it on my church bulletin one Sunday before graduation. (Sorry, Rev. Chastain. But, come to think of it, it was probably something you said that got the gears rolling, so I guess you could feel a little proud to have been a part of it.)

I think I said something about following your dreams and being your own person. That's what all graduation speakers talk about, right? I have always been a proponent in doing what I'm supposed to do.

By the way, Brian talked about the Top 10 reasons he would miss Skyline High and the Top 10 reasons he would not miss high school. He was more original than I was (though I think he has to give some credit to David Letterman for the Top 10 idea).

Brian's graduation was in the gym. Ours was the first and last Skyline class to have an outdoor graduation. We thought we were hot stuff to do something different than every other class to date. Looking back on it as an adult, it's kind of funny that an outdoor ceremony was our version of rebellion. That's pretty tame by today's standards.

Besides giving a speech, I sang a solo, "There'll Be No Peace Without All Men As One." My sister Lisa accompanied me. I don't know who the unknown hand is holding her music down while the wind howled. It could have been sister Darci called into service.

Brian didn't need the Kansas wind cooling him off. He had fan power generated by his sister and cousins following the ceremony.

Family was a big part of the celebration in 1975 and in 2010.

Suzanne, Brian, Kent & Madi

Brian with the grandparents

My two didn't get the memo that guns aren't allowed in high schools these days. I don't think we had the restrictions back in 1975, but I don't remember it being an issue.

Brian's class had 18 graduates, compared to the 26 in my class. Like the majority of the 1975 graduates, many of the new alumni are planning to continue their educations at Pratt Community College. (Of course, that does not include Brian who received the same purple brainwashing as I did and will attend K-State. EMAW)

But just like 35 years ago, the graduates have dreams for their futures. I don't know whether classes do prophesies any longer. I can see that might have gotten lost in a fog of political correctness.

But the Class of 1975 did have a class prophecy. The main use for such a document is to laugh about it at the occasional class reunion.

My class prophecy said something about working for The New York Times. It didn't quite work out that way.

While a senior at K-State, I wrote a letter to the Focus editor at The Hutchinson News. She had written a column lamenting that journalism school graduates didn't want to write about real people or everyday events.

I wrote her to tell her that's exactly what I wanted. I didn't want to be the next Woodward and Bernstein. I wasn't clamoring to interview Deep Throat. I wanted to find and tell the stories connected to ordinary people.

There are no regrets about the absence of The New York Times byline in my portfolio.

I'm not a big-town girl. I'm a County Line kind of girl.

I'm also an old girl. The Skyline superintendent commented that my class photograph was from the days of black and white. Thanks, Mr. Sanders, for pointing that out. However, as you will notice, most of my graduation photos were in technicolor. Yes, they may be a little faded, but they still have that true blue Skyline blue.

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