Friday, May 18, 2007

The Class of 2007: It's now official

Last year, we (meaning the graduating seniors and their parents) were forced to queue up at the main gate of the Florida State Fairground until the line spilled over to the cross roads, creating a kind of traffic hazard. All because the main gate did not open at 1.30pm due to some miscommunication. This time during rehearsal, the Principal (or rather the ex-principal, read here for further details) took pain to explain that the same thing would not recur).

This afternoon, the gate did open earlier, though we were still given the runaround between the three gates (the first two were still locked when we first arrived). But this time we were kept waiting outside the hall entrance (only the graduates were allowed to go in), under the hot sun, and were told that we would be allowed in only at 2pm.

After some loud words were exchanged between some impatient parents and the gate official, we were allowed in 25 min earlier, much to the relief of the majority of those who suffered in silence.

The cool air inside the Hall was more than a welcome change, what with the comfortable seats. As in the morning rehearsal, events unfolded in a similar way, but in a full-dressed manner, from those on stage, the invited guests, the graduates, and the audience, and to the accompaniment of Pomp and Circumstance performed live, by the school band. Not to mention the actual speeches delivered by the Senior Class President, the Salutatorian, and the Valedictorian.

The Senior Class president, reporting on the class history, characterized the four years undergone by the graduating seniors as, successively, the year of uncertainty, the year of enlightenment, the year of dedication, and the unprecedented year, in terms of the championships won and also in terms of bereavement (a disproportionate number of students suffered from family deaths).

But all came through with flying colors, despite the emotional traumas. As announced with pride by the ex-Principal in his welcoming speech, the class of 2007 garnered $9 million worth of scholarship money, 60% of the class have a GPA of 4.00 and above, 97% are college-bound, and 10 gained admission into Ivy league universities.

For the first time, the speech by the salutatorian was interspersed with partial songs strung together that tells a vivid story of the four-year sojourn, a tapestry of emotions ranging from frustration to jubilation.

In the same vein as Dr. Seuss’s famous mantra, the valedictorian proudly proclaimed that the world is not ready yet for the graduating class for the multi-talents that they have displayed.

The ceremony culminated with the conferring of the diplomas whence the graduates moved their tassels from left to right, and some throwing their mortar boards into the air just as seen in movies. At the conclusion of the eventful ceremony, it was time to bid farewell with photo sessions with all and sundry for remembrance.

On our own, the momentous day for our D ended with a graduation dinner at Macaroni Grill. For our readers, please enjoy the pictorial treat that best sums up the mood of the occasion.

The scene at about 2pm from our vantage seats procured by being the early birds, showing that the audience gallery across was still largely vacant. While the chairs at the center were still empty, their prospective owners were already lined up behind the curtains, ready to assume their place in history, the 88th graduating class of HP Plant High School.

The official souvenir program for the occasion, with the school song
(appropriately named Alma Mater) lyrics at the back.

The early birds getting ready for the action to roll.

A sizeable crowd has invaded the audience gallery across and the school band has just struck the first note, a cue for the graduates to commence filing in.

The graduates, in full regalia, were staking their rightful place in the venerable hall of fame
for high school seniors, two at a time.

The graduates, in full force, at 3.20pm, ready to take their pledge of allegiance,
the first business of the day.

Our D walking across the stage, after receiving the scroll from the Principal.

The symbolic coming of age, the tassel moving moment.

A mosaic of pictures showing our D with her fellow graduates (left)
and teachers (right) who have helped make today possible.

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