Friday, June 7, 2019

Graduation Daydream


Our school year has come to a close. This is very early for us. But in a case of "if you can't beat them, join them", the school district has adjusted the school year to be more in line with much of the rest of the country.

Next week I'll have any stories from the last week of school (assuming I work any), with Friday serving as my annual year end stats post. Then it'll be on to the "summer schedule" until and unless I get any summer school assignments. (In the past this has been fairly light, but last summer I kept pretty busy. We'll see what this summer holds.)

So, to close out the year (and because last week's classes were way too boring to write about), it's time for the annual presentation of the graduation daydream. Just to give this a little perspective this year, this was the year that niece graduated. When I first posted this, she had just finished the first grade. (Yikes, I'm old.) And I mentioned the entering kindergartners were the class of 2021. Yeah, that's the entering junior class for next year.

I first posted this in 2008 (but, oddly, not last year). I was working the last day of school. (The teacher was attending her child's 8th grade promotion.) I had the door open. It was passing period, and I could hear the students just outside. One girl said to her friends, "We're seniors now". It wasn't exactly true as they still had three periods to go, but the seniors had had their graduation ceremony the night before, so they were the oldest students at the school at that point. 

I had a prep period then. And I was beat. So, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and I tried to doze. The girl's comment replayed, and I imagined a scene...

It starts with a stage filled with teens in caps and gowns. A graduation ceremony. The new graduates look over the audience filled with proud parents. They're excited. They've finally finished school, and they're looking forward to the next phase of their lives.

The new graduates exit at the side of the stage. They hug each other. Many are in tears. They meet up with parents, take pictures, and gradually leave the area.

The stage is empty, but not for long.

Off to the other side of the stage is another group of students a year younger than those who just exited. They climb the stairs and claim the stage for themselves.

The new senior class surveys its domain. Some look in corners. Others go to the edge of the stage and peer out at the audience. Many are cheering, fist pumping, and bouncing up and down. Two boys run at each other and bump chests. They have arrived.

While the new senior class celebrates, the area just off the stage that was just vacated starts to fill. This group looks around in awe and wonder. A few look up the steps, itching to join the new seniors. Several look out over the line that stretches out behind them. It's a long line and it seems to disappear into the horizon.

As each group moves up to the next position, they look over their new surroundings. The new freshman class, however, is so busy celebrating and laughing at the group just below them that they don't notice how trashed their new position is. Then again, their old spot in the line wasn't much better.

The newest middle schoolers carefully take up their new position. They are all wide-eyed wonder. The more adventurous pull their peers along. They take their time looking around, acclimating to their new position in line. There's a demarcation behind them, and they thought they'd never get beyond that border. Now that they are, they're not sure what they're going to do next.

Each elementary grade moves up one. As the former kindergartners take their first grade spot (and make themselves right at home), an empty spot is left at the end of the line. But like all the other spots in line, this one doesn't remain empty for long.

Off in the distance, family groups start to arrive. The parents push their little ones into their spot in line. Some of these children run to take over their spot. Others cling. The families stand there, watching their little ones for some time, not sure what to do next.

One mother shakes her head as she watches her little one acclimate to the line. "They grow up so fast," she says.

Nearby, various people are on their way out of the area. One woman hears the kindergartner's mother, so she turns to her and says, "You have no idea." The woman looks off into the distance where her graduate is off with friends.

"You have no idea," the woman repeats.

21 comments:

  1. Liz, you just made me cry. You have no idea...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tear up every year while editing to repost, so...

      Delete
  2. Thank you for sharing this again. I always get chills, and I don't even have any children!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The funny part is, the student who was promoting from 8th grade... That teacher has two kids. The boy is living on the east coast now (full adult) and the girl is teaching at the school. I'm not sure which one was promoting that day.

      Delete
  3. Ahh graduation! Highs and lows for everyone. Nicely written

    ReplyDelete
  4. So sweet. The kids I used to nanny for, the first position I had, just turned 16 and are going into the 11th grade. Like … say what?!?!?! Nooooooooo… Thankfully they stay in touch. Love following them on instagram. It gives me so much pride to see how the grow and change and knowing that I was a part of that. (And I see a bit of myself within them.)

    To clarify, I was the nanny for 3 kids in one family; only one of them is 16. I did watch 4 other kids in the neighborhood though and knew all of their friends. So I'm part of this clique of 16 year olds. lol. It's great.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think there's still a couple of weeks left here, so I guess it's not ALL of the rest of the country :P. I remember what it felt like when my nephew graduated a few years ago. How old do you think that makes me feel?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I gulped a couple while reading your story, Liz. I love the feel and voice, reminds me of Thornton Wilder.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My step grand daughter graduated 8th grade this year. In a blink of an eye she'll be graduating high school. Time goes by so fast especially when the kids hit their high school years.

    It is nice that the school districts adjusted and finished up earlier than in previous years. The year son graduated high school in Laguna Niguel it was June 21st and his friends in Montana had graduated a month before (of course he started a month later).

    betty

    ReplyDelete
  8. You know from all I read here on your blog I wonder just how many of the kids you work with make it to graduation. I know when I was in school all of us dreamed for the day we would walk for that honor. Seems like now a days kids just don't care. Do they think they can slide through this life without it? Do they not care how rough life will be? I was excited that day right around this time that I walked for high school....36 freak'n years ago!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crap...I need more coffee, I realized as I posted my comment it is not 36 yrs it is 41..

      Delete
    2. I graduated high school 43 years ago. Don't feel too badly, youngster.

      Delete
    3. How many of the kids I work with or how many I write about? Because the district has a 90+% graduation rate. It's high 90s. Meaning, most of them.

      Delete
  9. Whenever someone complains about how "late" they're getting out of school, I remind them that I graduated high school on June 22nd. Then, I make them get off my lawn.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's so true. My niece who used to hang out with me when she was 10 graduated last year, her brother a few days ago. And my son...well, let's just say he could've made me a grandmother a few times over by now. It seems like yesterday we spent our summers at the beach *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  11. If I could turn back time... If I could find a way..

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yep! They do tend to grow up so fast!

    ReplyDelete
  13. My eldest Barbarian graduates high school this year (where I live high school finishes with grade 10, which is different to the rest of the country where it finishes in grade 12). Next year he starts his 2 years of college. It really does go so fast.

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate your comments.

I respond to comments via email, unless your profile email is not enabled. Then, I'll reply in the comment thread. Eventually. Probably.