All across the area, high school seniors are putting on their stupid-looking caps and itchy gowns and filling gymnasiums or football stadiums for that great thing we know as graduation.
Myself, I love graduation ceremonies. There's nothing like them. You are either stuffed inside a gymnasium that is 100 degrees or you are outside in the 100 degree heat all to watch your friend or relative go from a child to adult, at least in theory.
The graduates all have goofy grins on their faces, dreaming of the upcoming days when they will enter a world without mom and dad. Most will be going to college or entering the work force.
For those entering college, they are dreaming of keg parties, sleeping late and meeting a ton of the opposite sex. Of course six months from now that smile will be gone when they have to write that 40-page research paper or when they are studying for the final in the class they've skipped half of the time.
For those that are entering the "real world," and plan to work after graduation their smiles will definitely leave when they realize the amount of money they will lose to taxes on that first paycheck.
While the graduates are smiling the parents have tears in their eyes. Not just because their precious babies have made it through high school but because of the second mortgages they are going to have to take out on their homes to pay for their children's college education. Or it might just be tears of joy that after 18 years their children will finally be getting out of the house because it wasn't always a certainty.
And then there are the speakers. First the valedictorian and salutatorian. They joke about the times past and the endless future that lies ahead all while the rest of the graduating seniors try to make them laugh or mess up their speeches, because as we all know there is nothing funnier than someone having an embarrassing moment in public.
Then, if a school is lucky enough, there is the guest speaker. Some well-
known person in the community who will talk about being an individual (yet the entire graduating class is wearing caps and gowns) while trying to inspire the graduates to fulfill their potential and become doctors, lawyers and for the really smart, motivated ones, newspaper reporters. Meanwhile, every word this speaker spouts out is ignored by all in attendance because of the heat, the thoughts of the graduation party that will start seconds after getting diplomas and because the ceremony is now over an hour old.
Then it is the moment when they call every senior up to the podium to get a diploma and all kind of antics ensue. Fist pumping, waving and jumping up and down are common in this situation. Of course, that is just the family of the graduate.
Then after all the names are called and diplomas given, graduates throw their caps in the air and it's done. Many don't realize it but at that moment they are no longer in high school but in a world of more responsibility and expectations. It is the beginning of adulthood and eventually these are going to be the men and women who decide our future either as doctors, lawyers, politicians or whatever else they decide to do.
So, graduates, I offer you this simple quote as my piece of advice. "Your families are extremely proud of you. You can't imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing. This would be a most opportune time to ask for money."