Is now the right time to mention this? Graduation ceremonies suck (Opinion)
Big day for all NJ high school and college seniors, as well as their parents who worked very hard to get them this far.
For months it looked pretty grim for the class of 2020, especially high school. No prom. No senior week. No two weeks after finals where the teachers are done dealing with you so the TV is in the classroom. And most of all, no graduation ceremony ... or so we thought.
In an about face, Governor Murphy announced today, starting July 6, it is OK for schools to hold outdoor ceremonies with social distancing protocols in tact.
Obviously, we will have to see what the individual school districts decide on as far as a safe procedure is concerned, but for your sake, I hope they come up with something as quick and efficient as possible. A drive-thru ceremony would be perfect, as would the idea being thrown around of holding multiple ceremonies but with fewer students and families in attendance than usual.
Plain and simple, graduations suck. Your kid has to sit in the middle of the football field in a cap and gown while the New Jersey humidity eats away at them. You have to withstand rehearsed speeches from school administrators about how this particular class is the most special class ever. All of this while you are sitting on piping-hot bleachers in the direct line of the low late afternoon sun. And how could you forget the reading of the names?
No one is a winner when it comes to the reading of the names. If your kid's last name starts with an A or a B, or some other letter toward the top of the batting order, you will get to see your kid called up to receive his or her diploma pretty early on in the game. But once the name is read, you still have to sit there and listen to hundreds upon hundreds of students get called up to the stage. Every last one of 'em! Every time a name gets announced, some little eruption of applause erupts from the bleachers. NEXT! Another eight people applaud the next name. If your kid's last name is later on in the alphabet, the student body index moves at the slowest pace imaginable.
It's almost as if the ceremonial throwing of the caps is a reaction to the fact those reading the names managed to make it to the end of the alphabet.
Trust me when I tell you a drive-thru ceremony or some sort of abbreviated version of what we all had to go through is a blessing. The memory of your graduation day will be more of a stand out moment in your life as you experienced something no other graduating class has. And you won't have to suffer through the wet New Jersey July heat. That means no pit stains. No swamp-you-know-what. No lightheadedness when you stand up. And most of all, no traffic leaving the parking lot!
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.