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08 June 2006


So, yesterday was baccalaureate, my last full day as a high school student. It's amazing how reflective I've gotten over the last week or so. No, not shiny reflective, pensive reflective. Anyways, I decided that since I have about two and a half hours left in school, I'd better do my best to chronicle what little I have remaining.

I'll pick it up about mid-morning yesterday, because my first period independent study (which is completely done) consisted of me just sitting at a computer, like I am right now. Not overly exciting.

Second period was AP Calculus, a class that consisted of entirely seniors except for one junior, so naturally, I was the only one there. Because I actually care about attendance, even on the boring last days of school. Anyways, I found myself wandering around the room, so I decided to wander across the hall to the Spanish teacher, who also didn't have anybody to watch. I had a nice, long discussion with her. It was very sentimental.

She's always been friendly to me, even though I took three years of French. Last year, about this time, I helped her take posters down from her wall that she couldn't reach for the same reason, I was bored because I was the only one in Calculus. She thanked me by giving me her copy of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, which she said she got at a yard sale for a quarter or something. Besides, she was done with it, so I could take it.

Right now, I'm kicking myself for having not read it last summer, because the movie seems really cool. But I will read it this summer, because you have to read the book before you see the movie, right? I mean, that's what I did with Pride and Prejudice. Ugh; don't remind me.

Anyways, somehow this year's talk got onto the topic of my graduation speech, and then it drifted to how what teachers do is often greatly misunderstood by students. It's not that they are intentionally hard on students or that they want to see them fail. Rather, it is exactly the opposite. They don't want to see students fail in the future, so they prepare them for all that lies ahead. She talked about a student who had received straight A's throughout elementary and middle school, then got a C in her class freshman year. She got a call from the kid's parents, and she basically told them that this is high school. It's where you're supposed to find out what you're really good at and what you're just okay at.

Having wanted to be a teacher for a few years, and still wanting to be a professor eventually, it was touching to get this "inside look" at what it's like to be a teacher. She said she was sorry that she wouldn't be at graduation because she'll be flying over the ocean with her husband for a "third honeymoon" in Germany and Northern Italy. None of that touristy stuff, just taking it easy. She said she will probably be over the ocean at the very moment I'll be speaking, and that she'll be thinking of us. So that's kind of cool.

After that, with a few tears in my eyes, I moved on to third period, which was graduation practice. It went very smoothly, except they still ran things the hard way. After the group picture was taken with everyone in their caps and gowns (or as our advisor would say, "cap-n-gowns"), they decided to do the individual pictures for those who wanted them before the actual practice. So the rest of us had to sit and wait.

At the end of practice, which went well, they decided to have us recess from the stage, then come back into the auditorium to claim our tickets for the event. Many people complained because we were already sitting on the stage in something very close to alphabetical order, which was how the tickets were to be handed out. It would have been easier that way, but I didn't care.

I was also handed a Mathematics and Science Award from the Air Force Recruiting Service. Great; more advertisements. They would have given it to me at graduation if they didn't have about twenty others to give out to anybody else they really, really wanted in the Air Force. That would take too long.

They handed out the tickets, and my family got front-row seats, partly because I'm salutatorian, partly because my father is president of the Music Boosters and he has a scholarship award to present... one that I applied for. Wouldn't that be funny if I won it?

Graduation practice ran long, for the reasons mentioned above, so I completely missed my own lunch period. So I went to choir and asked our director if it was okay if I left when the bell rang to begin third lunch. She responded, "Oh, you don't have to ask me that anymore. You're a senior. As far as the school is concerned, you're not even here today." And then she used one of those weird clichés, saying, "The world is your oyster. Enjoy it."

Oyster? What is that supposed to mean? I can understand "you are an oyster and the world is your ocean," but the world being my oyster? That doesn't even make any sense! But I found this site today, which enlightened me, although I still think it's weird.

After school, my piano lesson was probably the most productive one I ever had. Not. But it's okay. When you go to the same house every week for nearly twelve years of your life, you develop a special bond. So we basically just talked about life, and got reflective again. She told her wonderful stories about her past, and I related some of my own anecdotes. I think in that hour, my brother and I played a grand total of three songs. And she's still getting paid for it, but to me piano lessons have always been about more than just music. And that's just something special. It will be sad in August when I have to leave it.

Baccalaureate started at 19:30 and I can now officially spell the word correctly without trying to put an extra e after the l. That's what French class did to me; I want to make it look like l'eau, because, you know, water's good for you.

I have been to other baccalaureates in the past, for various reasons, and ours was nothing like them. And not in a good way. It was utterly pathetic in my opinion. First, let me reproduce the program for you:

Processional - GHS Bell Choir
"Heilig" - GHS Chorus
Yesterday & Today
"Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal" - GHS Chorus
Recessional - GHS Bell Choir

Hmm. I didn't know that the bell choir and the concert choir were even supposed to perform the same things they did at baccalaureate in 2005. Heck, I didn't even know they were supposed to perform at all. That was because they weren't.

My mother wondered where the band director was (he said he'd be there), but figured that he probably saw the blatant misprint (or complete oversight) in the program and was too embarrassed to stay. I wouldn't blame him. Imagine the flak he could have caught if he'd stayed.

So without the music, everything else took a grand total of 21 minutes. That's right, we were out of there at 19:51. This was due, in part, to the brevity of three of the four students' speeches, and the rapidity with which all of them spoke.

Some of it was funny. Our class advisor made a point of telling everyone he was lowering the microphone twice for two of our shorter speakers. One kid stumbled on the word "Israelites" and said "is-realities." Another completely lost her last note card among the rest of them, and we had to wait a few seconds for her speech's grand finale.

But other than the invocation, the benediction, and one of the speeches, it was not very religious at all. I guess times have changed. I just really wish it would have been like the Class of 2005's baccalaureate.

Then we went to my grandmother's house and ate pie. And I didn't realize it had peanut butter in it until I was halfway through it. Oh, well. It wasn't half bad anyway.

So that was yesterday. Today school lets out at 12:35. Right after that, I'm going to go into the auditorium, close the doors behind me, and practice my speech with the podium and the microphone. Yay. Then it's getting cleaned up for dinner at 17:00 with my family, both sets of grandparents, and my great-grandmother, who apparently didn't even know she was invited, because there wasn't a ticket in the graduation announcement we mailed her. She didn't understand we hadn't gotten them yet. The ceremony starts at 20:00, and in about twelve hours' time, I'll be a graduate. Wow. It's all gone so fast.

Congratulations to my friends and acquaintances at Bethel Park High School for completing another year. Wish me luck on my speech tonight.


Stephen Lewis said...

i have a few things to comment on this post, but it's probably too much. i might as well just get my own blog that's solely responses to your blog. ah well, i'll keep it short.
first off and above all else, congrats on making it! you'll go far in life, you've got a lot going for you! my day comes tomorrow, and it will be an absolute cry-fest. our choir always ends with the singing of "it's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday". it's rare to make it through that song without tearing up, even during practices.
baccalaureate really has lost its religion. it's now just something people do because they gotta have one every year. i always enjoy it though. ours still has some religious value.
piano teachers are some of the greatest people to sit and chat with. i've had so many cries and laughs with mine, it'll be hard going off to college and having to sit next to a lady who looks and sounds exactly like my physics teacher. piano teachers are really some of the best therapy you can get.
coincidence: our choir did "hark i hear the harps eternal" this year too. (earlier in the year though.) our director sometimes referred to the song as "hark i hear the farts infernal." which is strange, because he usually scolds the tenors for changing lyrics. (please don't ask for examples.)
my memory is currently failing me... did you mention in some previous post that you don't like peanut butter? i think i remember that. regardless, you must not disrespect peanut butter pie.
uh... that's it.

Lexi Elizabeth said...

finally, i can comment!

this is a super long post. i've never seen anything like it.

you sound like one busy person, and one truly amazing one at that, because you come to school when you don't have to, you help teachers, you just talk to them like they are human beings, and you seem to be an all around good person. and that shows, especially in this post.

i wish i was as great as you. i wish i could be the nicest person ever, the smartest person ever, and the most talented, and everything else that you are.

i'm a little jealous

Laurel said...

Good Luck on your speech...which you have probably already given....well I hope you had good luck! Can't wait to see you!
Luv ya all!

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