Another class of graduates out the door last night. While I don't always know many of the graduates, I appreciate seeing their eager faces as they participate in what, for many, is the biggest event in their lives thus far.
The speeches are often repetitive, but last night, the kids did an amazing job. One of the salutatorians gave a politically charged speech that talked about the Michigan economy, and the foolishness of our government to think that spending less for a product (education) would actually yield a better product. As our schools feel the pinch of the shrinking tax base as more and more people lose their jobs and homes, it truly is a tough decision how to best encourage business to come back to our state, and how to best prepare our youth for a competitive college and job market. The three other speeches were more typical. . .here's what our last four years have looked like. . .a nod to the sports teams, the band, parents, and the "mostly good" teachers. (Honestly, I was a little annoyed at that comment. . .couldn't he have said "many good" instead? really, the connotation is so much better!) Our valedictorian is heading to an Ivy League school with 30 credits already under her belt, so her first year in school will be as a Junior! Congrats to her and her family!
I will say that my favorite part of the ceremony by far was when the first student walked across the stage to accept his diploma. His parents are deaf, and he has autism and is blind. The principal announced that he would be the first to accept his diploma, and that loud noises startle and upset him. He asked that the audience show him and his family respect by applauding in sign language. As he walked across the stage, more than 2400 people held their arms in the air and waved their hands. It made me proud to be a part of such a sensitive and caring community.
To this years class of 2011--Congratulations
To the staff at our school--You are all people I'm proud to work with.