[From the archives. Four years later, one high school graduating class, I think it stands up pretty well.]
Like it’s an amazing accomplishment that means something significant. Note to the graduates. We expected you to successfully finish all twelve grades.
For shit’s sake, my cycling training is suffering and I missed a triathlon in Portland last weekend because of the first of an endless number of graduation-related events that dot the Byrnes family social calendar.
We’re long overdue on updating our traditions. Forty-fifty years ago a high school diploma was meaningful. High school graduates could get manufacturing jobs and support families. Now, a high school diploma is simply a ticket to continue around the game board of life. That’s all. It’s not an amazing accomplishment. And to the well intentioned people congratulating me in church on Sunday, not necessary. I didn’t sit in boring class after boring class or complete any homework. I did inquire about school at dinner (to no avail) and I did drive the forgotten violin to school a few times, but that’s hardly grounds for congratulations.
Here’s what graduating from high school means, plain and simple. Instead of having most decisions made for you, you get to make more of them yourself. Enlist in the military or enroll in a vocational program, a community college, or a four year college or university. In a few more years, if you apply yourself in one or more of those settings, you will have sufficient knowledge and skills to begin making a positive difference in people’s lives and get paid a living wage. And you’ll be economically independent.
And then we’ll party hearty.