Suzi Foltz: Congratulations Class of 2011…Maybe

I never really thought that planning a graduation would be all that difficult.

Yes, it is a big deal for all the students and all the parents, grandparents, and lifelong friends who attend, but the actual planning and scheduling of it shouldn’t be that hard, right? It’s an event that every single high school has had to plan every single year of their existence, so there are plenty of guidelines in place. However, my school, Wilson Memorial High School, keeps having bouts of confusion and mishaps.

At the beginning of the year it was just assumed that my class would graduate at the JMU Convocation Center like the last couple of classes from our school had done. I went there for both my older sister and one of my brothers. It’s a nice building that seats 7,612, and it fit all of our school’s needs fine. We were then informed that the center would be having renovations done and that we would need to look for another venue.

At this point it was thought that we would just hold the graduation at the high school. (Insert disappointed sigh here). In theory this isn’t a bad idea. It’s where you met some of the people you’ll be sitting with. It’s where you tripped in the hallways and found out “that she said that he said that they were…etc”. It’s where you earned the diploma that you will be parading up to get. But it is not exactly pleasant.

The ceremony is supposed to take place on the football field. It would probably have enough room for everyone to be present; it’s what Waynesboro and some other schools do. It’s the plan B to this outside setting that is dreadful.

Plan B (to occur in event of inclement weather): The ceremony takes place in the gym. Each student is limited to 2 guests. All overflow guests will sit in the auditorium and watch their loved one/family obligation graduate on a screen.

This was the setup when my oldest brother graduated. My parents went to the gym and I went to the auditorium. Both rooms were full, hot, and miserable. I did not want this for my own graduation. If there were a way to guarantee that it would be on the field, I’d go along with it. But our school tends to be unlucky with stuff like that so…

This semester we we’re told that it had been decided our ceremony would be held at Eastern Mennonite University, June 4 at 10 a.m. I do not know much about their facility, but it’s got to be better than the divide and suffer method. So I and the rest of my class (at the ones that will be able to graduate) were placated. It was smooth sailing for a bit after that; everyone ordered caps and gowns and were able to at least tell their parents where they would be.

Last week, Jostens, the company that we do all of our school memorabilia ordering from (class rings, yearbooks, graduation, etc.), brought in our orders. Try on your cap, try on your gown, hand everything else over to Mama.

However, another mistake had occurred. The graduation announcements had a misprint in the address of EMU. Apparently I will be graduating in Harrisburg rather than Harrisonburg. Road trip to Pennsylvania anyone? Jostens’s apologized and scheduled a reprint for all of the orders.

The reprints were delivered and all was well again. I do wonder how much this cost the company though. Also, not many people who receive a graduation announcement actually attend the ceremony because they live out of town or don’t actually know the child that well. Technically I could send out both sets. That way, twice as many people know and have the opportunity to be generous

Maybe not. Oh well, as long as I graduate, I’m not too perturbed by the bumps along the way.

Suzi Foltz is an AugustaFreePress.com intern and a senior at Wilson Memorial High School.





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