Tuesday, May 29, 2012

High School Graduation

            As we all have heard, in real estate the 3 keys to success are “location, location, location.” I’ve come to believe that these 3 keys are vital to a lot more than just selling your house or opening a restaurant. Take my son’s high school graduation, for example.

            The seniors were given the opportunity to vote on where their graduation ceremony would take place. Their choices were the high school football stadium or the Gwinnett Arena. The high school football stadium has metal bleachers, a tiny parking lot, and is exposed to the elements; it’s your average high school stadium. The Gwinnett Arena, on the other hand, has comfortable cloth-covered chairs, a huge parking lot with attendants directing traffic, and air-conditioning. Guess which venue the students chose.

            So there we were, crowded into the high school football stadium. For four years, students and their families had attended raucous football games, band performances, and other assorted sporting events. It has always been noisy, crowded, and fun.

            Now in my opinion, an occasion as important as graduation should not be noisy, crowded, and fun. There should be a certain decorum to it. At the very least, parents should be able to hear their child’s name read and see their child walk across the stage to receive that hard-earned diploma.

            Such was not the situation at the BHS graduation last Wednesday. Even if you ignore the fact that many family members and friends came dressed in clothes better suited to football or the beach than to a graduation ceremony, many lacked what I consider to be basic manners. Air horns and loud cheering for one child meant that the parents of the child who came next were out of luck. There was no way they could hear their child’s name announced.  Miss Manners certainly would not approve of such impolite behavior.

            I suspect she would also disapprove of families leaving as soon as their child’s name was announced. Many rude families whose name started with a letter at the beginning of the alphabet rose at a leisurely pace, obscured the view of everyone behind them, and inconvenienced those seated next to them as they tried to push their way out of the packed bleachers.  Is it really that hard to sit politely and respectfully for an entire 2-hour graduation ceremony?

            It occurs to me that this rude behavior may have been a result of the expectations associated with the venue. Yelling during football games is expected, and so is getting up and leaving at halftime. These behaviors are expected at a football stadium during a football game. Apparently, there are people who don’t understand that there is a difference between a football game and a graduation ceremony if they’re both held in the same stadium. How disappointing for those of us who are not etiquette-challenged.

            Despite the lack of common courtesy on the part of some attendees, the graduation itself was a successful event. We saw Alex and his friends get their diplomas, a very satisfying conclusion to 13 years of education. The graduates enjoyed being in their stadium for the important moment and, after all, graduation is about them, isn’t it?

(You’re thinking, “Really, Vicki? It’s all about the kids? Are you sure?”

 The truth? Nah, it's really all about the awesome parenting job that resulted in the child receiving the diploma.