I hate graduation (a rant)

I’ve been to 3 high school graduation ceremonies in the past 5 years (2 children, 1 niece). I’ve decided that they are my least favorite social occasion. I’d rather go to a funeral (at least, of someone I didn’t know particularly well.)

It’s not the logistics, although they’re usually awful: an hour or two sitting on a football bleacher, 50 yards from your graduate, seated next to a family of yokels with air horns. It’s the speeches.

I like good oratory. I can sit through a speech. But here’s what we had at last nights: 3 different speakers (one of which was a set of 3 senior women, who took turns, interjecting “witty” commentary, and occasionally speaking in unison). The subject of all 3 speeches seemed to be: gee, what fond memories. It seemed like only yesterday we were timid freshmen. Now, we rool. Shout out to the parents & teachers.

Apparently, the seminal event in the past 4 years for these leaders of tomorrow – not the war on terror, not the environment, not the Bush administration. No, it was that they were robbed in the judging of the spirit competition during Homecoming Week, 2003. All 3 speakers mentioned it. I’m surprised it wasn’t reported more widely; someone might’ve won a Pulitzer. :rolleyes:

I don’t expect 18 years olds to be profound. But jeez, can you remove your head from your own ass long enough to spout something other than in-jokes to your friends? If these are the leaders of tomorrow…God help us. My high school commencement occurred at the peak of Vietnam, and our speakers managed to make note of the fact. Imagine that.

Memo to school administrators: when you pick speakers, lock them in a room for an hour and teach them how to write a speech. Make sure your speakers pick different topics.

Memo to valedictorians: if you don’t have any gravitas, any perspective on the world and your entry into it – fake it. If you can’t fake it, steal it off the internet. It worked for history class.

End of rant.

My opinion is that I’m indifferent to graduation.

But, nice rant! :cool:

Thanks. I’m trying to land a gig as a curmudgeon.

My son (now a college freshman) also hates HS graduation, but for an entirely different reason. After 3 years in the HS band, he tells me that he does not want to ever, ever hear “Pomp and Circumstance” again.

Oddly enough, according to an article I just read, in the early days of public high schools, graduations were popular entertainments. It mentioned that thousands attended a graduation ceremony for Philadelphia’s Central High School in the 1850s–and twice as many were turned away. Definitely more people wanted to be spectators than could be accounted for by family and friends.

I’ve been to 4 graduations. two for me and two for my sistetr(High school and College). I hated every one of them.

Though the worst would have to be my sister’s college grad when the city’s mayor showed up said he was going to keep it short…and then yakked on about anything and everything for a frickken hour. Was he getting paid by the minute or something?

Maybe they weren’t allowed to mention anything political in the speech. My high school refused to print anything controversial in the “senior statement” part of the yearbook. More likely, though, they were just shallow kids. Most of the smart-on-paper kids at my school were painfully ignorant of the world at large. The valedictorian and salutatorian at my school both wore expensive clothes and Nike shoes and drove fancy cars–they didn’t care about politics, they just cared about themselves. I hate kids today. (FTR, I’m 23.)

oh, you touched a bit of a raw nerve here. Both my kids “graduated” this year, from elementary and middle schools. Both ceremonies were two to two and a half hours long. Awards, songs by the chorus, orchestra and band, speeches, video retrospectives and so forth. I don’t know when these junior graduation ceremonies came into vogue. I wonder about the expectations this sets for younger kids. What will their actual HS graduations be? A three ring circus with clowns, fire eaters and elephants? Will that be enough??

Well, I had a cap & gown ceremony for 8th grade graduation in 1967.

My nephew’s pre-school had a graduation ceremony this year, but it was short, and heavy on the “awwww…ain’t that cute”.

Have hawaiian leis become mandatory graduation attire everywhere, or is that a recent California thing?


What, everyone gets “Leid” by the principal or some weird school board member? Weird-a-rama, and NO – didn’t happen at the graduation I attended recently.

That graduation was wonderful. This being northern Idaho, there was the obligatory “I owe it all to Jesus” speech, but otherwise excellent speakers. Great fun to see all the graduates hugging all the administration members – except for the school board president. His carnation looked perfect after the ceremony, everyone else’s was nearly flat.

The ceremony lasted one hour and five minutes, total. No problem. It was held in the gym, and the bleachers were as one would expect, but bearable for an hour. There were not enough chairs put in place for the graduates – someone mis-counted, apparently, so 10 guys were left standing after the processional. Some chairs were brought from the cafeteria for them, while the principal teased them from the dais: “You need to sit down!” “We don’t have any chairs!” “So? Improvise.” Causing lots of laughter as they all knelt down.

While I agree that long, poorly thought out graduations are bad, and that being a valedictorian does not necessarily make one either a speech writer, or public speaker, the whole ceremony is targeted at an audience that has invested more than a decade in someones education. They deserve a good show, whether they like it, or not.

My high school graduation was nice, because there were only about 75 of us, and it was simple to read everyone’s name, say something nice about them, have a relatively distinguished guest speak, have our class presidents speak, and still be out of there in an hour and a half.

I lobbied my family (unsuccessfully) to skip my college commencement, where a blowhard jerk whom I’d never heard of was the speaker, and my name was read near the end of a list of ~3,000 names. I spent three or four hours under a sweltering tent sitting between two asshats – one of whom I knew to be a regular cheater – who smelled like gin and happened to be near me in the alphabet, while my relatives got to mill about in the back and eat the free* buffet food and catch up. I felt very little pride in my “accomplishment” because I knew several people who had coasted and/or cheated through what I had originally thought to be a pretty distinguished school. Sure, my GPA was pretty good – but there was no indication of that in the ceremony. Just NAME-TAKEYERPAPER-GO.

I was much more eager to have friends and family present at my commissioning ceremony the next day, where I was one of thirty people being honored and felt that I had truly distinguished myself and earned something above and beyond the norm. The ceremony lasted an hour, the speaker was a colonel for whom I still have the utmost respect, and I was commissioned by my father in his old Army uniform.

    • (with purchase of undergraduate education)


The trombone part is the worst. A whole page of on-beat quarter notes.

I went through 5 (playing in band in 3, my own HS graduation, and college) and I am not tempted to have to do it again.

Worst day of the year for band members, followed closely by Homecoming night when you have to play the homecoming song 50 times while the “court” parades around and you stand perfectly still.

No…leis given by family members to the graduate for them to wear from beginning to end of the ceremony, like a boutonierre when going to a dance. My wife picked up a lei for our niece yesterday, and said there must’ve been 100 stacked at the florist.

I agree. That’s why it ticked me off to see a ceremony targeted for the graduates, not for the audience.

Grrr…high school graduation. Don’t remnid me. Oh hell, you already did so now you get to hear about it.

Imagine this: it’s 106 degrees, we’re in direct sunlight and we aren’t allowed to have water (mind you, the teachers keeping us in line all had huge water bottles and ice). First we get 20 minute speeches from the principal and our class advisors, then some guy (yeah some guy, I don’t even know who he was) spoke for 30 minutes on the struggles of black Americans today-he even went so far as to say that white people are evil, then three graduation speakers.

One would think the validictorian would be a speaker. Nope, she got bumped for the athletics director’s daughter. All three speeches were awful. I would know, I was the captain of the debate team for three years. “Like…um…I’m like totally going to miss like um so and so teacher’s funny jokes and um…OMIGAWD!!! CLASS OF 2004 OMG OMG OMG!” **

Five hundred and seventy-five seniors. After two hours of name reading, it is dark and finally over. You couldn’t pay me to do that again.

**And yes, I’m bitter. I tried out to be a speaker. Everyone who watched (other teachers, staff members, the other kids’ parents, etc) all thought I was the best speaker. Apparently my speech was “too political” because I discussed what we had overcome while we were in high school (ya know, crazy elections, 911, a war).

I actually decided not to go to my high school graduation. I have no desire to sit there forever, listen to people who love the sound of their own voice and have been lying to us for four years speak (especially long this year, as our superintendent is retiring and our principal is allegedly leaving), then listen to all those names be read, walk across a stage for one minute to get the piece of paper (I worked my butt off for seven* frickin’ years and all I get is a damn piece of paper?). Then, afterwards, I get to pretend I don’t hate half the people there, that I’m actually going to miss all the bitchiness and the highschool drama, and then have to go deal with my family (and there’s no way in Hell I’m handling them all at once). All that when I can just go pick up said piece of damn paper (I don’t even really want the paper, but my mother does) in the guidance office the week after? No thanks, I’ll pass.

*I went to a middle school where we could take high school credits. I’m graduating with an ass-load of credits- way more than I actually need to graduate. I could have graduated early except that middle school didn’t put us ahead with English and History, so I would have had to take those over the summer to get the four requisite credits for each. I also wanted to be 18 when I went to college.

Nice rant-wrong forum.

Moving thread from IMHO to The BBQ Pit.

Holy shit jsc1953 I was there last night…(honestly, look at my location)

And I had an air-horn :smiley:


I think I should also add that this is the second graduation I’ve been to this year. It’s the second graduation that sucked(the other was Valley Christian-if you ever wanted to listen to teens with their heads shoved so far up their asses, this is the place to experience it. The Teachers and administrators fucking encourage it there!)

Both times, I sat in the stands smirking, and giggling, listening to teens who think they’re so “The Man” for making it through 4 years of school not knowing that life is ready to kick the shit out of them. I really hope we weren’t this egotistical when I graduated a decade ago…

You forgot to mention the rain last night as well, and the obvious class clown who in the middle of his speech(which went on and on), he finally notices that it’s POURING and decides to speed up his speech.


I’ve been to one, and it was incredibly boring for me, mianly because I was one of the “marshals.” They took the top 10 (well, they made up a top ten and took them), and made them do insanely menial tasks to add some sort of elegance (pomp) to the miserable ceremony. So, for an hour and a half, I paraded around with other kids making either sit down/stand up hand gestures, keeping seniors in line, or telling the grown kids when it was time to walk up the steps. What a waste of an afternoon.

(And next year, I can’t wait to do a speech; that is, if they let me. My friend this year made this wonderful speech that was actually pretty poigant, but the English teacher, who checks the speeches, said it was “far above the intellect of the attendees.” This was because it used the word ‘abyss.’)

I got stuck at a Southwest Assemblies of God graduation last month. That is Hell, and they’re sure I’m going there. At the end of 90 minutes, the Dean started praising John Ashcroft.

I’ll come down with the plague before I ever go to another graduation.