graduation-memories I knew our Leadership Development Program has graduations. I knew our Child Sponsorship Program has graduations. But I had no idea that our Child Survival Program (CSP) has graduations, until I saw this precious little gem…

The kids obviously take the graduation ceremony very seriously. (Or maybe they’re simply concentrating on holding such a large diploma.)

I distinctly remember my first graduation ceremony … 6th grade. I marched across the stage to get my diploma and then gathered with my class on three tiers of bleachers and sang “Country Roads” by John Denver. Even after 21 years I still remember every word to that song. I wonder what these CSP graduates will remember about their graduation.

How about you? What do you remember about your first graduation? Anything interesting?

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  1. Apr 30, 2010
    at 4:51 am

    That pic is darling.

    My first graduation was college.

    The thing that stands out – while lining up to receive our diplomas, a boy in my group said, “Quick, someone say something profound that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.” And we all laughed.

    Of course now his comment is what I’ll remember for the rest of my life. :)

  2. Ken M.
    Apr 30, 2010
    at 5:30 am

    When I left 5th grade to go to middle school, our school didn’t hold a special celebration. Maybe they were glad to see us go. Leaving 8th grade to go to high school was different. We had a special assembly in the school auditorium. Hearing the song, “So Far Away” by Carole King, in the background while pictures of my 8th grade class’ middle school years brightened the large screen made me realize the emotions that a good song can bring. I still love that song.

  3. Caitlin
    Apr 30, 2010
    at 9:55 am

    My high school graduation. We had a local weatherman speaking at it (I still don’t get why, but okay) he started off with “Sometimes our plans and predictions don’t always go right. To those of you who shoveled partly cloudy off your doorsteps this winter, I apologize.”

    In college they had us lined up and ready to walk, my lab partner stood 2 people in front of me and impatiently waited to walk, muttering “If they don’t let me walk soon, I’m gonna pass out…drag me across and put the diploma in my hand anyway, will you?”

  4. Andrea
    Apr 30, 2010
    at 10:00 am

    My first graduation was from high school, I don’t think any of my schools believed in the “mid step” graduations a lot of schools have. Though since we moved a lot it’s possible I just managed to miss any that did.

    What I remember about the ceremony… well it was excruciatingly long. Right after a brief into all the special ed kids got their diplomas. My school was the only one that had handicapped access for the whole wing dedicated to special ed, plus the gyms, and the cafeteria… so we had roughly 90% of all the special ed kids in the city.

    I was a little confused at first… but not for long. The school had auditions for “class speaker” instead of having the class nominate someone, and decided to let 3 different students make a speech (this is in addition to speeches made by the principle and faculty) Each student gave a pretty long speech, and the faculty was not about to be outdone.

    Then I had to sit while 445 of my 452 (not counting special ed) classmates got their diplomas before me because my name comes at the end of the alphabet.

    I would like to point out that the special ed kids got to leave right after getting their diploma, instead of sitting through several hours of ceremony… they didn’t tell me about that particular perk when I was choosing classes.

    I finally got to go up and the announcer mispronounced my name! Even though they had pulled all the seniors out just 2 weeks before for a practice run through to make sure they could pronounce everyone’s name. At this point I was having serious “why did I bother” feelings.

    As I turned to walk down the aisle with a feeling of “surely it must be over soon” I saw my family, including aunts, uncles and grandparents all of whom had driven a minimum of 5 hours (more for a couple) to see me do this, and they were cheering and clapping and generally doing their best to embarrass me with their love. So I smiled and waved.

    That’s what I remember, my family, all there and proud of me, just to see me walk down the aisle with a fake diploma (real ones get mailed out after final grades are in). I remember taking pictures with each of my grandparents outside by mom’s roses (that would be the last picture I would get with both of my paternal grandparents) as well as with aunts and uncles and cousins.

    I think I might have been just as happy to only take pictures with the family and have cake and the school could still mail me my diploma. But I decided that if they could still be that excited after driving that far, and then sitting through 3 hours of mind-numbing boredom (most of which at this point I’ve blocked out) then I could be excited too. It helped that the cake was REALLY good.

  5. Apr 30, 2010
    at 11:29 am

    Somewhere are pictures of me at my Kindergarten graduation — unfortunately, I don’t remember anything about it except the pics–

  6. Apr 30, 2010
    at 11:30 am

    P.S. I’m heading to my sponsored girl’s LDP graduation in Thailand next week! Woohoo! I’ve sponsored her since she was 8, and this will be the first time we meet each other!

  7. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 30, 2010
    at 1:31 pm

    The graduation that I most remember, was not my own, nor was it the graduation of any of my 5 children. Nope, it was the gradutation from high school of the first child that my son ever sponsored thru Compassion, in the Dominican Republic. It was in December, 1999, I think. Indris had been sponsored by my son, Abbot for about 10 years. He began sponsoring her when she was about 11 and he was 19. She wrote and asked him to come to her high school graduation and walk with her in the processional from the church to the school, and actually hand her the diploma. Abbot’s girlfriend, Michelle, (now his wife) and I went, too. I was so proud of Indris for graduating, in a town where at that time only about 10 percent to the kids finished high school, and I was also very, very proud of Abbot for taking on her sponsorship and seeing it through, at such a young age. Each graduate chose the person of the opposite sex who had helped them the most, to walk in the procession and hand them their diploma. And she chose not a family member, but her young sponsor, my son. Abbot went on to get an MBA degree with highest honors a few years later, but I was not nearly as proud of him when he did that, as I was the day he walked in the processional of the graduation of his sponsored child.

  8. Apr 30, 2010
    at 3:24 pm

    I remember the graduation from High School. A pastor came up and with a solumn heavy voice spoke to us out of the Book of Ecclesiastes. “The End is better than the Beginning.” Then he looked around in referent silence as we all sat there and waited for his words of wisdom and he continued like this for about 45 minutes:

    “The beginning is when it began…. The end is when it ended…. When it ended is not the same as when it began and when it began it is not the same as when it ended…. Now here it says: ‘The end is better than the beginning.’ ….. It does not say ‘The beginning is better than when it ended.’ Because the beginning is when it began…. Now we notice in the text that the end is better than the beginning, which is when it began. ….. The end however is when it ended and not when it began. When we began, we were at the beginning when the ended we were at the end…. These are two different events. One, when it began, two when it ended…. Now, we understand that the ending is when it ends and the beginning when it began. …. when it began is not better than when it ended, because the end is better than the beginning. …..”

    He went on like that for about 45 minutes…. At the end of the message, I indeed was convinced that the end was better than the beginning, only I applied it to his message. LOL

    Kees

  9. Apr 30, 2010
    at 7:20 pm

    You know, I don’t remember anything that far back. The first graduation I remember was eighth grade…and nothing big happened. However, I’ve come to realize that even just graduating middle school is a blessing…so many don’t have that opportunity.

  10. Apr 30, 2010
    at 8:46 pm

    Sixth grade, and I remember very little, except that I thought it was silly. It wasn’t as if we were finished with school, after all.

    The next one was 9th grade, which meant a bit more to me, because I was moving up to HIGH SCHOOL, but I still remember very little of it.

    High school graduation was held in the Rose Bowl–yes, that one–with our biggest rival school and the city j.c. The place was packed. I can’t imagine that family members were able to pick our their kid in the very long lines that we formed.

    My college graduation came more than two decades later and was held in the gym at the university. My husband was on the other side of the gym. I couldn’t see him, and he couldn’t see me.

    The only people who got to walk across the stage and accept rolled up papers were the graduate students, so I really looked forward to my Master’s graduation. Big letdown.

    There were so many that year–or because of some dumb excuse–only the Ph.D. candidates got to walk across the stage. Students getting their bachelor’s degrees had stood by college, the Ph.D.’s would walk across the stage, but they had all of the Master’s and Specialty graduates stand up, in place, at one time. Not a chance for family members to locate their graduates. I wished I hadn’t bothered.

  11. Nancy White
    Apr 30, 2010
    at 9:18 pm

    Adorable and moving – a wonderful witness to Compassion’s work!!!

  12. Kathy Olson
    Apr 30, 2010
    at 9:46 pm

    I actually failed kindergarten and they made me repeat the year but they let me do graduation with the other kids. We all had caps and gowns like the little ones in the photo, and we acted out the classic tale “Billy Goats Gruff” for the proud parents. If I can remember that 40 years later, maybe some of these kids will too….oh and I eventually graduated from college :-)

  13. Lindy
    May 1, 2010
    at 5:01 am

    I love that photo! My first graduation was from junior high. It’s funny, but I don’t remember anything about the graduation. I just remember that we went out to dinner, a special event in a family with (then) eight children, and my grandparents gave me an opal ring.

  14. Caitlin
    May 1, 2010
    at 9:03 am

    lol, Kees! I had a speaker like that at my college graduation. She had taken that opportunity to turn it into a democratic political speech as she addressed a majority Republic audience. It would have been somewhat funny, if I hadn’t had to sit through it at my graduation!

  15. Vivyana
    May 1, 2010
    at 11:21 am

    How cool is that!!!!

  16. Judy Tremblay
    May 1, 2010
    at 8:56 pm

    Well, my brother and I went to the same school, and we have kindergarten graduation pics for him–so I’m assuming my first graduation was also kindergarten. However, the only things I remember from kindergarten are sitting on a stool by the chalkboard with the light from a projector shining on me, while the teacher traced my shadow on a piece of black paper–and spilling my milk during snack time one day. :)

  17. Amy Wallace
    May 2, 2010
    at 5:28 am

    That picture is too cute!

    My first graduation was from grade 5, and I remember me and my best friend purposely wore the same dress.

  18. Mike Stephens
    May 2, 2010
    at 2:49 pm

    I remember my fifth grade graduation and we all walked to the neighborhood pool where I was on the swim team a few seasons and I think I played basketball at the pool so long out in the sun I nearly felt like I was going to pass out. I remember getting water from the water fountain a lot!

  19. Terri K
    May 2, 2010
    at 8:10 pm

    Kees you crack me up! Your graduation speaker must have been a philosopher! or a politician! :D

  20. May 18, 2012
    at 7:28 am

    My first graduation was when I was 3 or 4 years old. I was graduating from Pre-K. I remember it because it was my first time on a stage. I remember sitting in my chair with the blue square on it and waiting for my name to be called and I remember walking to my teacher and getting my certificate that said I was able to go to Kindergarten. It was a big accomplishemnt becuase no one thought i could do it. From being born they said I was never going to make it in a normal society. Now im in college getting a degree in Multimedia Design. :) Take that doctors!

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