April 21, 2020
One of the casualties of the Coronavirus pandemic are the “red letter” events in our lives that show a rite of passage or mark of achievement. Recently, actor John Krasinski held a virtual prom for 2020 seniors who had to cancel their dances due to the need for social distancing.
Likewise, schools will most likely forego the graduation ceremonies that for centuries have marked the launching of a next phase of life for students – one that is witnessed (or endured) by their friends and family. I still remember (vaguely) my college graduation.
In an unusual scheduling decision, our ceremony took place 5 days after the last class of the year. Most of us had to remain on campus where there was little else to do except visit the fraternity drinking parties that were being held pretty much around the clock. Poor choices were made and made repeatedly.
The ceremony itself was rather a blur. I remember we were grouped by the type of degrees we were receiving with the honor students always being announced first. Direction was clearly given to the audience to hold their applause until the end. Bachelor of Science graduates went first, with honor students leading the way followed by the other graduates. The dean then invited audience response by saying, “Let’s hear it for the honor students!”
Each discipline was given the same treatment. Honors first, everyone else next and then, “Let’s hear it for the honor students!”
Finally, it became our turn and the same thing happened. As I was taking my seat after receiving my diploma, I heard the dean say, “Let’s hear it for the honor students!” Without thinking, I blurted out, “What about us dummies in the back?” It received the loudest applause of all.
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