Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Painless Graduation

In our 39 years of parenting we've attended a heck of a lot of graduations. Of course you are there for you child, but they can be trying, too.

First there is the traffic and long wait to get seated. Then the stand in line that leads around the convention center twice.

Then there are the long directions:

Please don't yell and scream or use noisemakers or air horns when you student is announced (like that is going be obeyed.) Don't stand on the chairs. Don't run up the aisle with your camera, blah blah. You have to listen to a couple guest speakers who go on and on, long speeches from the head of the school district, long messages from the principal, the salutatorian, the valedictorian, "reflections" from another student. Then there is the choir singing the school alma mater, and the band playing.

Then, of course is the parade across the stage to get the diploma and shake hands with a bunch of dignitaries. And the brief moment when you see your beautiful daughter walk across the stage. Well, you only see her on the big screen above the stage, because you are so far away and everyone is seated on a flat floor.

Then you have to try to find your graduate, find your car, sit in line to get out... I mean yes it's worth it to see your child up there graduating, but normally it takes 2-3 hours to get through.

This year the school district, in an effort to cut costs, is holding ALL the graduations at the county owned convention center. So for Danielle's graduation, she had to be there at 6:30 AM for the 8 AM ceremony.

They cut the guest speakers, limited all other speeches to like 10 minutes and then moved all the graduates through the line on the stage ( a little over 500 of them) and managed to get it done in one hour exactly. We were amazed.

We took Danielle out to breakfast at McDonald's. Then at 9 PM she went to the class graduation party, which is a lock down at the school until 2 AM. This to cut down on all the deaths by car that happen late at night after graduation.

Now, Danielle is intellectually disabled, and she was the only Special Ed student at the party, and no parents were permitted. We were kind of shaky on it. But the school nurse said she'd watch out for her. And Danielle spent the evening in the company of the class president, a wonderful girl who had volunteered in that classroom.

I don't think Danielle ever had a more wonderful day. And the way the students included her in their evening festivities was superb. I'm so proud of her.

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