Friday, June 13, 2008

Graduation Contraband

My son graduated from High School a week ago. It seems like just yesterday. My daughter graduated in 2003. To understand graduation at Wa-Hi, you have to get a picture of the school. It is an open campus; students must go outside to go to classes (in most cases). There were 578 graduation candidates on the program this year. Each graduate is issued 6 tickets. Needless to say, it's a HUGE graduation. And it's outside.

When Dani graduated, apparently many of her classmates smuggled in contraband. And apparently this wasn't the first class to do so. Teachers and staff were highly trained in handling the paraphernalia-hiding students. What was it they smuggled in? Beach balls. Yeah. Beach balls. I'm not kidding. One after another, a beach ball flew into the air, hit by each person it dared land on. Soon there were about 20 balls flying over the graduating class, and at times into the crowd. I watched a few of the teachers. They looked determined as they watched those beach balls. Gradually, the number of balls decreased.

Had the seniors decided to stop the terrible distraction? Had a parent confiscated it? Had they simply fallen into the creek that runs through the campus? No. I watched in dismay as one teacher and then another caught a ball and stabbed it with something, deflating it instantly. But slowly, defiantly, another ball floated into the air. And then another. Those seniors would not be held down.

The whole incident came back to me as my son got dressed in his gown at home, five years later. I asked him if they had been warned not to take beach balls to graduation. "No," he said (he's a senior of few words). Further interrogation revealed that the school was taking a new approach. Each senior was given a beach ball and they were highly trained as to when exactly in the ceremony they could inflate and toss it. I suppose an entire staff meeting was devoted to this; maybe even several. I'm a "retired" teacher, but come on, my tax-payer dollars at work! But what's more disconcerting is that the very seniors who stood and gave speeches about High School teaching them independence, teaching them to be thinkers and doers, were the same ones who waited robot-like for permission to toss a beach ball. Please! The Principal even laughed lamely and said, 'Don't worry seniors. You'll get to use that beach ball soon." Oh brother. What are they...five years old?

I say, "Seniors Revolt! Be wild. Be crazy. Take your destiny into your own hands and send it sailing into the air."

My youngest child will graduate in 2013. I can only hope that by then, the school staff will have more important things to do than deflate beach balls. But we'll see. By then, it's entirely possible that the seniors will show their joy in more sinister ways- like with confetti and steamers. ~K


Amy Mullis said...

Today, beach balls. Tomorrow, Frisbees! They'd have probably put the whole stadium on lockdown if that were here!

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Wow, really? On the school website, it stated that everyone coming to graduation was subject to search. Who knew they were looking for plastic balls and not weapons of mass destruction. Sheesh! Thanks for visiting, my inspirational friend.

Dawn Colclasure said...

I agree, that is just crazy. But I guess it's no surprise. I think they have things like that enforced as a precaution against lawsuits, or something.

Karen L. Alaniz said...

Yeah Dawn, I'm sure that some parent at some point complained that the ball got between her and her child and she didn't get to see him get his diploma. Or something like that. But for me, while I'd hate to miss that moment, it was still my son's graduation, not mine. And if the class wants to make it fun, then so be it. And yes, we are a lawsuit happy nation. Don't get me started on that one. ~Karen