Thursday, June 30, 2005

Graduation Love Fest, Part 2

We held our 8th grade graduation ceremony in a nearby school which has a beautiful new building. (When are they gonna build us OUR new building, yo?) Saturday morning was sunny and HOT. I helped line up the girls to march in. Must remember to bring an extra pack of bobby pins next year to help with the mortarboards. The girls let out a big shriek when the music started, but as we shoved them through the door into the gym, they calmed down and began marching in step. Everything that we'd practiced went better than it had in rehearsals.

The ceremony began with the Star-Spangled Banner, then an introductory speech by our principal and a keynote address by the president of the non-profit that helped start our school three years ago. He was a little longwinded but what can you do? The kids sang "I Believe," a corny song about believing in oneself, which the kids actually really liked singing. They got shy, though, and could barely be heard. Then we had two speeches by students. Instead of the top-ranking students speaking, we asked kids who wanted to speak to submit speeches and then chose a couple of speakers from among those who were interested. Interestingly, these two girls both joined us in seventh grade, a year after the others started; I think that speaks well of their classmates' ability to integrate new students and really make them feel welcome. They nailed the "graduation speech" genre, which meant they were very sweet but a little cliched, but I think for 8th grade that's just about right. Come high school and college graduation, they can find something innovative to say! I helped hand out diplomas, and then the kids - with help from everyone in the audience - sang "Stand By Me" and then graduation ended in a flurry of photographs, thank yous, introductions to extended family members, and more photographs.

Most of us on staff met at an Italian restaurant, Mario's (MAArio's not MAHrio's, just so you know), for a celebratory lunch. That's when I gave this t-shirt to Ms. Pascal, who is leaving for the business world and an MBA. (Another math teacher friend recommended one that says "FOIL - keeping algebra fresh" but they were out of stock last week and this week I can't even find it on the web).

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