Graduation 2008, part 1

Today is graduation day for some of my seniors, at the school where I teach. It’s a wonderful affair, and it will be good to see them off on the next step, ceremonial though it is.

The chaos caused by graduation in this district cannot be minimized, for an odd scheduling reason. Today the seniors graduate. Tuesday, we’re back in class with everyone else, with a couple of days of instruction and finals yet to go. It’s nice to have the seniors gone — the halls are much easier to navigate, the juniors are already stepping up, the sophomores and freshmen suddenly realize the work they do leads to something — but the schedule seems out of whack.

I’m trying to adapt.

This year our family has multiple graduations — well, two. Younger son James graduates in a bit over a week, assuming he gets in a mass of work in classes that appeared after the state tests (for which he was exempt because he passed them all the previous year), and after more AP tests than I thought humanly possible.

James’ school held a ceremony and reception for the top 11% of the graduates, 75 kids who may be in the top 10% (a magic number in Texas because it guarantees admission to Texas colleges). Texas colleges won a majority of the plans of the graduates, but there was an impressive number of students off to out-of-state schools of high repute. (James is off to Lawrence, in Wisconsin.)

I wake up in a cold sweat. Clearly we must have done something right, as parents of graduating kids, as teachers of graduating kids. What was it?

5 Responses to Graduation 2008, part 1

  1. Art says:

    Juniata it will be. NYU is just too steep.

    Consolation – Times Square and the stage lights of Broadway are but a six hr or so Amtrak ride from Huntingdon.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks for June 22 stuff — time to gear up for it. I found that story was a great one to get the interest of kids in world history for the dull stuff between 1800 and now — all of it is dull to them, of course. Perfectly timely reminder!

    NYU over Juniata? [Cue the song from “Bye, Bye, Birdie!”] “Kids! What the heck is wrong with these kids today!”

    Actually, James looked for a school in NYC — he wants the city life. Appleton, Wisconsin is nice, but not a Big City.


  3. Art says:

    We put a deposit down for Juniata, so Amy has a place waiting. But she got into NYU off the wait list after the May 1 deadline. NYU seems to be every kid’s dream school, and Amy is no exception. But it’s going to be tight, because we haven’t heard about aid, and their housing deposit deadline is June 2. (The prospect of eating the deposit for Juniata isn’t very appealing, but …)

    The stories about kids just getting around to this are sad. But lots of schools have rolling admissions, and its always possible to get started at one place and then transfer.

    While I’m here, I believe I had promised you some titles for the June 22 day in history. Two of the first books I read that covered the conflict in broad terms were “Barbarossa” by Alan Clark, and “Russia At War” by Alexander Werth. They are easily found at bookstores. I first read the story that was the basis for “Enemy at the Gates” in Clark’s book.

    The most riveting account I have read was by Leon Degrelle (“Campaign in Russia: The Waffen SS on the Eastern Front “).


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    Last second? Deadlines for James’ decision were May 1. April 29 dawned without a decision . . .

    We feel lucky he had a choice to make between good schools. He and Kathryn worked on the process for more than a year. Last week I had a graduating senior — not from my class — come in to ask what I thought about one particular school. The kid had not started any phase of the process, not even considering the SAT or ACT. A smart kid, but transferred from another school a year or so ago, so the counselors didn’t have him on the radar. No tradition of college in the family. He’s not the only one. So far beyond maddening that I have a handout for these kids.

    Congratulations on Amy’s graduation!

    Thanks for dropping by.


  5. Art says:

    Hi Ed,

    Congratulations! My youngest, Amy, also graduates this spring (the actual ceremony is June 2). It’s a dizzying time for parents. I can imagine (actually, I cannot) being both parent and teacher.

    You’re lucky James knows where he’s heading to. Amy is playing the old waiting list game, and it’s going to be a last second decision. Maddening.


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