Monday, June 06, 2005

Thoughts from a high school graduation

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend my first public school high school graduation. All graduations are basically the same - every faculty member has some boring speech, which will never be remembered, the "elite" get recognized, then everyone grabs an official-looking piece of paper stating that the real diploma is in the mail (in college, its only in the mail if your tuition is paid). However, there is one thing that distinguishes high school graduations from kindergarten or college graduations and that is being able to weed out the winners vs. the losers. Since I was bored out of mind within the first minute, I began to scan the Arvada West 2005 graduating class. Unfortunately, I was sitting too far away and forgot my binoculars, so I walked around until they started calling out valedictorians. (Before I begin my analysis, it should be noted that there are 25% more girls than guys in this particular class.)

The fifth faculty member starts to call out the valedictorians and what scholarships they have and where they'll be going to college. To my surprise, she calls out seven girls and one guy. Some of the chicks were going to study the arts, one was looking forward to being the 10th girl to ever grace the halls of the Colorado School of Mines, the others were going to study biology or math and the boy was future West Point material (FWPM). This was an easy crowd to break down. One maybe two of the girls will actually obtain the degree they set out to obtain, two will obtain a degree of some sort and the rest will be answering your call to a customer service center (if all the CS jobs aren't outsourced to India by then) or serving you food at a fancy restaurant. As for FWPM, his parents are school administrators, so they probably pulled a string or two. I'm positive none of his classmates liked him since he probably looked down on all of the other fellas for their inferior grades. He was also the class spokesman. If he was the spokesman for my class, I would've immediately tarred and feathered him for his "life is a beach" speech. I feel for the soldiers who have to serve under his command IF he makes it through West Point.

After some more boring speeches and a lame choir song (these kids were robbed), they finally started to call up the kids for their pieces of paper. This was my chance to determine the future winners vs. the future losers. A majority of these kids will end up with decent-paying jobs and will buy houses they could barely afford in some new sub-division just to keep up with the Joneses. The ones I want to focus on are the ones that will be either absolute losers or will actually make a good difference.

First on the agenda, the losers. I automatically tagged anyone with a floppy fro as a loser. Sure enough, one floppy fro kid got his name called hopped onto the stage, bypassed the goofy faculty lady giving fake hugs and practically jumped off the stage on his way back to his seat. A couple of his floppy fro buddies high-fived when he got back to his seat. They all plan on working at a skate/snowboard shop for the next 30 years. One of them will eventually cut his hair and become an outcast, and that's only because Nordstrom cashiers have an image to uphold. All athletes (boy and girl) with scholarships were also given loser status. They were lied to by some scout from a no-name college about their mad skillz, so when they find out that they're not good as the scout made them out to be they'll end up working at a local rec center coaching little league teams, telling people how much they enjoy working with kids. In reality, they couldn't make it to the next level and were left out in the cold when companies realized that they had an eigth grade reading level. It was easier to spot the girl losers after the commencement. They already had cigarettes in their mouths, and were only dressed with their gown on. I grouped them with the like, totally awesome Valley girls. (I can just hear myself tell them, "Let me speak to your manager." at the bank, store, restaurant, you name it.)

Now, onto the sparcest of groups, the winners. All valedictorians were eliminated. I was searching and searching when it dawned on me. The ones that are actually going to live up to their potential are the underdogs. The ones that don't have a cheering section. The ones who got B's instead of A's because they had lives outside of school. The ones who overcame all odds and were proud of the fact that they obtained a diploma. The ones who savored each moment as if it were their last. Of course, this narrowed it down to two people. One, a girl who had a couple of college scholarships, but no cheering section. I'm almost certain her mom wasn't even there. She'll become a plastic surgeon and end up working on the girls who's faces are mangled from too much smoking, and who didn't think she was cool enough to hang out with them. The other, a guy who's parents brought his gown as the names were being called. The last name had been called as he scurried to hand his name to the name caller-outer. Unfortunately, the mic was off and all the name caller-outer managed to utter when the mic came on was the guy's last name. The guy was denied both the fake hug and fake piece of paper, and was only able to get a wave to his folks off before rushing off the stage. He'll own the skate/snowboard stores that the floppy fro guys work at and live the rest of his days on the beach while the floppy fro guys stock his shelves and FWPM stands on the corner near one of his shops on the boardwalk with a cardboard sign that reads, "HomlesS dIsabled vett. AnythIng hElpS."


Anonymous The Bull said...

Hmmm. Interesting. Whilst I was reading this blog, I inadvertently starting categorizing myself. I looked back to my old high school days. Of course, I was valedictorian in a class of 5, but I definitely was not THAT valedictorian. I just had 4 chicks I was competing with who couldn't maintain a B- average (I think I was up there will all the B+'ers). In any event, I won every single award you could win accept the Mr. Most Improved Award and the Staff's Choice Award. But I wasn't bitter. The MMI was for those who were basically out of it most of the time and needed some love. The SCA was either given to a chick or sally boy. I am neither. My Valedictorian speech was neither polished nor encouraging, but it did make people laugh. Let me digress for a bit...We definitely need never forget about That Guy who's basically a scumbag mascarading as a model student. You know, That Guy who likes to be devious and get in trouble "on the side" without ever getting caught, yet maintain a pure image? He finds a way to squeeze out those insincere tears when giving his commencement speech just to win an award that is valued ONLY during the ceremony and never to be thought of again. So where was I? Oh yes, my categorizing of myself. I concluded that if I went to a public high school, I would've been That Guy who didn't get THE best grades, but who's family showed up hours before the ceremony just to get a good seat and cheer on the boy who made it through high school unscathed and optimistic. That Guy who knew exactly where he was going, but didn't quite know how to get there. Right now, I'm making decent moolah while using the City's computer to write about absolutely nothing. But you can rest assured. I'll get there. Someday.

8:45 AM  

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