Graduation ceremonies were a fixture in my life when I was younger. As a four-year member of both my high school and college bands, I attended eight straight years of graduations (and have played Pomp and Circumstance more times than I can possibly count). Last year was actually the first time since 2004 that I didn’t attend any graduations, so I suppose it was appropriate that I more than made up for it with Grad Fest 2014.
Things kicked off on Saturday with my sister’s college graduation. Because her alma mater doesn’t have large outdoor facilities, it holds graduation in its basketball arena. I did not rank above my parents, grandma, or aunt who drove all the way from Seattle for graduation, so I, along with my brother and another aunt, watched graduation remotely from an auditorium.
I knew a decent number of graduates in my sister’s class, so sitting through the ceremony wasn’t nearly as mind-numbing as I feared it would be. After graduation, we all convened in the school’s quad, where they had delicious cookies. Oh, and graduates.
My family and I then headed to a local tapas place for graduation dinner. I love Mediterranean cuisine in the majority of its varieties (Greek, Middle Eastern, etc.), but Spanish is probably my favorite of them all, and tapas-style dining is hands down my favorite way to eat a meal. With 13 of us at dinner, we ordered nearly everything on the menu, and I ate like I wouldn’t eat again for another 36 hours (oh, right. That’s because I didn’t. 😛 ).
I spent all of Sunday totally down for the count thanks to my stomach flu, but felt well enough on Monday to actually consume calories again. My brother had his high school graduation party on Monday, complete with pulled pork, ice cream, and four different kinds of bar cookies my mom made for the occasion.
I subsisted on Gatorade and toast. Sigh. (Never fear: there were leftovers for me to enjoy once my stomach returned to a happy state.)
I still felt a bit iffy on Monday during the party, so I hung out in the pantry at the church where we had the shindig…
…and waited to emerge until I could hear my family asking where I was. Haha. I socialized with old family friends I haven’t seen in awhile, and totally bonded with my former high school Bible and AP Government teacher over running. He used running metaphors all the time in class, and I remember thinking he was absolutely nuts when he’d talk about running (he was the first person I ever heard complain about runs three miles or shorter because “you just get warmed up when it’s time to stop.” At the time, I couldn’t fathom running more than two miles under any circumstance, so the idea of just being warmed up after two or three miles sounded totally insane). Anyway, we talked about marathoning for a long time, and it was probably one of the highlights of my week home. I’ve always had a pretty strict “Teachers are authority figures, not friends” mentality, even as an alum, so it was really cool to talk to a former teacher as a fellow runner rather than as a scary grownup. It also further confirmed that running is awesome at bringing people together. I never have an easier time striking up a conversation with anyone–my former teacher or otherwise–than I have when I find out I’m talking with another runner.
My brother then graduated from high school on Thursday. He was class president, and he gave a wonderful speech (in my obviously unbiased opinion 😉 ). The real speaker, though, totally stole my brother’s thunder. One of the most respected and well-liked teachers at my high school is retiring after this year, so my brother’s class invited him to give the graduation address. Now, I’ve sat through a lot (a lot) of graduation speeches in my day, but I really think this teacher’s was the best one I’ve heard. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house at the end.
My brother went directly to Grad Bash after graduation, but the rest of the family continued a tradition my aunt established after I graduated high school:
Sundaes at McDonald’s. We keep it classy 😛
Do you remember any graduation speeches? I honestly am not even sure I remember who spoke at my college graduation, let alone what (s)he spoke on. My favorite high school teacher spoke at my high school graduation, though again, I don’t have the foggiest idea what he said anymore. Oops.
How did your college arrange its graduates for graduation? I’m taking a poll. At my college, they arranged us by degree, and then arranged us alphabetically within our degree. My roommate said that’s what they did at her school, too. At my sister’s college, though, they arranged everyone by major, but not in any sort of discernible order, so you couldn’t follow along in the program like you could at my school. Is this normal?