My daughter graduated from Provo High School last night, and it was a wonderful celebration. We had lots of family in town, a great barbecue in the afternoon, and then we all trooped over to UVU’s McKay Events Center for the graduation ceremony itself. Lexie looked lovely in her white robe, and dealt patiently with various wannabe family comedians suggesting that it only lacked a pointy hat for perfection. (Klan jokes: always fun.)
And then we spent two hours watching total strangers walk across a stage.
Let’s face it, graduation ceremonies suck. Pomp and Circumstance can get tiresome pretty quickly, and frankly it’s the highlight of the evening. At my son’s college graduation last month, the orchestra played P and C at a tempo that would have made a dirge sound lively; at Lexie’s last night, I guess the orchestra kids never learned it; we listened to a recording.
Three kids spoke, and they did fine; usual pablum about Dreams and The Future, with that Nelson Mandela quote prominently featured. Four musical numbers by school ensembles, all fine. And then various administrators also spoke, and brother did we all REALLY not care about their remarks. Then finally, with all sorts of elaborate choreography and much milling about, they finally got to the names and diplomas. Provo High did this thing where as they read each kid’s name, they showed their picture and a baby picture, giving us all two chances to think “geez, that’s a geeky lookin’ kid.”
I was feeling cranky anyway. UVU is not very handicapped accessible (I mean borderline non-ADA-compliant, it was that bad), which meant an interminable walk to the crip section, where they had no chairs, until Annette found a patio that had chairs and stole some. So, Lexie walked, she looked awesome, big smiles all around; it was great. We did lose Grandma and Grandpa in the crowd afterwards, but eventually found ’em okay, besides which, that’s kind of de rigueur: the Tossing of the Caps, the Wearing of the Tassels, the Losing of the Grandparents.
Still, it’s interminable. Two hours plus, when what you’re there for takes two minutes. It’s Kentucky Derby Broadcast level boring. (You know, where ABC takes three hours to broadcast a two minute horse race.)
This is totally fixable. Instead, why not create a graduation DVD for each kid? It could be a school activity. Like: the Graduation DVD Club. Interview a few teachers, a few friends, then finish with a shot of the kid holding her diploma. Just hand those out the last day of school. You could even tape the valedictorian’s speech and include it. The whole ‘sit in a basketball arena for hours watching pedestrian traffic patterns’ thing is just soooo twentieth century.