As this Saturday's commencement is quickly approaching, I’m reminded of my own ceremony experiences.
1997 high school graduation
A district board member who spoke at the podium accidentally said, “Congrats Class of 1979.” It was a long day for the organizers and speakers, because the district had four high school ceremonies within one day. We were the last ceremony at 7 p.m., so can understand how that happened.
Later that evening headed back to the high school for the all night party. The day concluded as we watched the last moments of the Red Wings game on a television in the theatre. The Wings won the Stanley Cup that year.
2001 bachelor graduation
It was an outdoor ceremony in early May and about 50 degree weather. Standing and waiting for the ceremony to begin got pretty cold, even with a pant suit and cap & gown! However, the most memorable was hearing the bagpipers playing during the processional.
2004 Walsh master graduation
For me it was even more special to graduate from my place of work. Being involved in the months of behind-the-scenes prep work, has given me a better appreciation for my own ceremony. The week leading up to commencement is especially busy for me. It is a blur of colorful seating charts, reader cards, running stats for speeches, check-in room signs, honor cords, etc. The list can go on and on.
At my own ceremony hearing the string quartet playing “Pomp and Circumstance”, my co-workers cheering for me, and shaking the president’s hand (who actually knows you personally) made it that much more personal. Plus, I was the first on my dad’s side to graduate with a master’s degree. So as you can image, it was even more exciting for my family. My aunt later explained to me that seeing my name in the program made her tear up.
Commencement is a day of celebration for hard work and reaching that important milestone. Over the years I’ve learned that how schools choose to structure and organize their ceremonies is different. However, there are three reoccurring themes:
- Graduates are nervous for their 15 seconds of fame to walk across the stage.
- Keynote speakers encourage graduates to seek their passions for the future.
- Family and friends are so proud of their graduate and excited to get that precious photo.
My advice, enjoy every moment of your ceremony. It doesn’t last long, but huge achievements like graduation make memories that last a lifetime. Congratulations Class of 2012, you’ve earned it!
What has been most memorable moments from past commencement ceremonies? Graduates, what are you looking forward to in the future?