Friday, July 6, 2012

Graduation and The End of High School

On June 10th 2012, I graduated from Fort Atkinson High School. The ceremony took place inside the high school gymnasium around 1pm. The graduates had to be there an hour early for a last minute debrief on how the ceremony was going to go. When we got there we had to meet in the auditorium in our caps and gowns. Guys wore black and girls wore red. After our quick debrief we lined up to walk into the gym with our walking partners. My walking partner was my best friend Beckett Callan, we were seated on the end of our row about 5 rows  (halfway) back from the front.

We proceeded in, from two sides of the gym so that four of us (two sets of partners) were walking in to our seats at a time. The way the seats were set up there were about 10 rows of 15 or so students and there were two sides to each row so all in all around 30 kids per row across the two sides. A few members of the high school band and a few from the orchestra were set up in the corner playing a piece called Pomp and Circumstance which is the standard graduation procession song in the USA. When we got to our seats we had to stand and watch as the others came in, supposedly a mark of respect to our classmates coming in still.
Once everybody had arrived at their seats we all sat down as a group.

With all of us seated the ceremony began. We had an opening address from the class president followed by a presentation of gifts to the foreign exchange students done by one of the other senior class officers. I was chosen by the other exchange students to give a short speech about life in Fort and the experience of living as a foreigner in the US. I very much enjoyed having the opportunity to speak at graduation. After my speech, the other exchange students were given the opportunity to quickly thank their host families for having them for the year which I thought was a really neat idea. For the record I made it about a third of the way through my delivery before bursting into tears, thankfully I kept it together enough to keep going through the whole thing.

There were a few more speeches delivered before the presentation of diplomas including: a student-elected senior class member, a student-elected teacher, the principal, the superintendent of the school district. Dr Zaspel (school principal) presented the class of 2012 to the audience at the end of his address and then we were called up on stage to receive diplomas which involved waiting a long time to walk across stage and shake hands with a few school officials. All in all the ceremony was about an hour and a half long which is pretty reasonable.

For me, graduation was the beginning of the end so it was a pretty solemn occasion. Luckily everyone else was so excited that I managed to remain relatively upbeat and only cried during my speech. I took photos with a lot of my friends, said one last goodbye to the music department AKA my second home and walked through the glass doors of Fort Atkinson High School for the last time as a student.

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