I wasn't able to be at the graduation, which I regretted since this particular group included the final group of seventh graders I taught at Diamond Middle School, but from Rick's description, it sounded like there was at least one thing I would have hated about the ceremony:
Proud parents, distant relatives and friends filled the gymnasium at Diamond High School to the rafters, taking pictures of their son or daughter, and even used an air horn blast a few times to let the entire gym know they were proud of their graduate.
I can't think of many more selfish acts that someone attending a graduation ceremony can do than sounding an air horn and disturbing people who have come to attend a joyous, yet solemn ceremony.
I attended the Diamond High School graduation last year and the air horns were sounding every two or three graduates, sometimes still going off as the next student's name was introduced, preventing the family and friends of that student from being able to fully enjoy that once-in-a-lifetime moment.
And perhaps it is too much to expect school officials at Diamond or at the many other schools where this type of behavior is tolerated to be able to completely stop this type of juvenile nonsense, but when no effort is even made, as was the case in May 2007, that simply encourages more inconsiderate friends and family members to ruin the ceremony for others.
It does not have to be that way. I attended the commencement ceremony Sunday afternoon at College Heights Christian School, where each announcement of a graduating senior was greeted by applause and some yells, but no conspicuous demonstrations.
Admittedly, the ceremony was held in a church, which I am sure makes a difference, but I guarantee you there are many public school ceremonies in southwest Missouri where air horns and obnoxious demonstrations are strongly discouraged.
The time for air horns, if ever there is such a time, is after the ceremony is over. Personally, I would like to see them banned entirely.
On a personal note, though it seems hard to believe, this year also marks the graduation of my eighth graders from my first year at South Middle School. Many graduated from Joplin High School over the weekend, while another, Kristin Haddad, was graduating at College Heights.
Best of luck to all graduating seniors.