Monday, June 13, 2011

Graduation Speeches

I attended a high school graduation ceremony Friday night for the first time since I myself graduated from high school, twenty-mumble-mumble years ago.  It was a large graduation -- 550+ students.  Several students were given the opportunity to make short speeches: senior class president, salutatorian, valedictorian and the class poet laureate (who read a longish poem written in annoying rhyming couplets).  Each of the student speakers naively told their fellow classmates that they had made the best friends of their lives in high school.  Such statements will be, in hindsight, regretful, but I guess it would be perceived as snotty if they said, "Fellow graduates, you have made the best friends of your lives -- so far."

Be honest -- before discovering Facebook, exactly how many of your high school "besties" were you in contact with?

After hearing three painfully shortsighted speeches and an excruciating poem Friday night, my newly-formed and now earnestly-held belief is that high school students should not be allowed to make any speeches whatsoever at their graduation ceremonies.  Given that they have spent the last twelve or more years filling (and subsequently emptying) their heads of facts and formulas that they may or may not need in the years to come, during which time they were given absolutely no practical information about how to live, there is just not enough time in the typical graduation ceremony for graduates to make speeches about going out into a world of which they know absolutely nothing.  If this is the moment these children must "commence" with their lives, time is of the essence -- there is no time for foolishness.

So I propose that only the following categories of people be allowed to speak at high school graduations (and preferably one from each) about their real world experiences:

1.  Individuals who graduated from high school and who are now on probation for drug and alcohol-related offenses.  It is fine if these people are still struggling with their addictions, so long as they can articulate how quickly you can destroy your future by making one or two idiotic choices.

2.  Individuals who worked fast food for three years after high school before deciding to go to college.

3.  Individuals who just knew that they had met their one and only in high school so either shacked up or got married, and four years, two kids, and a divorce later are struggling to pay the bills and/or child support.  (Even better might be the couple who made it, but who would speak honestly about their struggles in sending each other to college, juggling childcare, etc.)

4.  Dave Ramsey.



  1. Dave Ramsey needs to speak at Kindergarten commencements, that way, by senior graduation, these kids might be on their way....


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