Who remembers their eighth grade graduation? I certainly do! I wore a strapless white dress from Le Chateau which cost me about $50. I did my own hair and wore simple shoes (probably flats…I STILL can’t walk in heels). We had our mass in the church next door where we sang a couple of songs (with gestures), did the walk and shook all necessary hands. Then we proceeded to our school gym for our dance. The walls were decorated with black construction paper silhouettes of ourselves.
Last night, I attended the Grade 8 graduation of my school and boy, what a difference 25 years make! This generation is SO different from my own. First, it was held at Le Parc, a nearby banquet hall where people usually go for high school graduations or weddings. Then there were the gorgeous outfits, fancy shoes, beautiful hair – and that was just the boys. 😛 The girls were totally glammed up too, of course. I had no idea you could braid hair in so many ways. Everything sparkled and glittered, lots of poufy tutu-style skirts, and apparently strapless was key (1990 trendsetter, right here).
The ceremony was probably like most grads. First, the students proceeded to their seats to Pomp and Circumstance. Then they sat down and our principal had her welcoming address. She kept it short and sweet about three life lessons she hoped the students would remember when they graduated. She wanted them to use their talents and gifts from God to be the best they could be because as she stated, “God doesn’t make junk.”
Next, the students accepted their diplomas. “Fake” as the eighth-grade teacher pointed out – just for show. The real ones were coming later so they wouldn’t be crushed. This was a huge class so it took about fifty minutes to get through it all. The next part was the exciting part – the awards. There was a community award, humanitarian (one of my favourite students got it), male and female athlete (my fave male won, but my fave female didn’t), communications award (great choice – she and I bonded over Marvel comics and Fan Expo), and more. Finally, it was the valedictorian speech. There were two chosen, a male and a female. I taught the male and he was one of my best pupils. If I had a son, I’d want my kid to be like him – smart, respectful, athletic, and just an all-around good kid. His mom is a supply teacher with our board and she is super sweet. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Their speech was good. Funny anecdotes and a little memory of each teacher that had taught this graduating class. I was actually surprised to be mentioned because I had them in sixth grade and then went on maternity leave. I hadn’t seen these kids in two years, but to still make the speech, I was touched. They said that they remember me as being creative and a good conversationalist. They remember my love of basketball and the Christmas and End of Year Auctions I did for them. I had to think about other stuff so as not to get all weepy. I AM that mom and that teacher. After a year with my students, it’s hard not to think of them as “my kids” Heck, that happens after a week.
After the ceremony was over and pictures were taken, I had a few moments to chat with some colleagues. Looking around at the graduates’ faces in the atrium, it’s hard to believe that in a few months, they are going to start a new journey, a new part of their lives. Two years ago, they were just sixth-graders, some really silly kids. Now, they all looked grown-up and ready for a new part of their lives. I hope what they learned in elementary school is enough to prepare them for a whole different experience. When I went home, I told Hip Teacher Dada that we’d be the parents at grad in just a few years. Hard to imagine our little girls growing up so quickly, but time does fly by.