Friday, May 18, 2007

Class of 2007 (the rehearsed one)

We woke up with a start this morning, at 5am. Why? Our D’s high school graduation rehearsal ceremony. Yes, today is her school’s graduation day, she being one of the class of 2007. 400+ of them. Just from her school. And the venue is the Expo Hall at Florida State Fairground, a sprawling area of open space where State Fairs are held.

We left home at just after six, set on reaching the venue at 6.30am as instructed. After a few wrong turns, we eased into the parking lot on grass, which was slowly being filled. Entering the Expo Hall, we moved to a choice area like veterans, which in fact we are, having gone through the same process last year for our S.

Like a conductor, the Principal (or rather the ex-Principal, he was promoted out of the school early this year), choreographed the entire sequence, starting from graduates entering the hall in pair, to the accompaniment of the familiar music score of Pomp and Circumstance, the de facto official graduation song here in US., taking their positions at the cues from the marshals who are strategically located, and being seated in unison.

Then there is the protocol of filing up the central stage to receive the scroll (just a piece of paper and the real diploma will have to be claimed backstage at the end of it all), shaking hand with the principal with the right and receiving the scroll with the left hand, and walking toward the opposite end to have the graduation picture taken, with the American flag as the background, not forgetting to move the tassels from left to right that would symbolize the completion of the arduous (to some) academic journey from pre-K to 12.

Before that, there will be numerous speeches, including one each by the valedictorian and salutatorian, the pledge of allegiance, and singing of the national anthem, the school song, all making up the solemn ceremony that marks the point of breakthrough and the readiness of the graduating class to commence another chapter in their lives.

Being a rehearsal, the graduates turned up in all manner of attire, including shoe-wear. But we are assured that at the real thing, which is 3pm today, they will be in their most resplendent selves, gowns, mortar boards, regalia, and all.

So if for nothing else, the pictures that captured the mood of the rehearsal would serve as a contrast to the pomp and pageantry this afternoon, which we would chronicle in a subsequent blog.

Graduates in various poses just before the rehearsal. The seats for the graduates all face the central stage with spectator seats on both sides for the parents and friends, which will be filled this afternoon.

Up on the central stages, the various "directors" discussing the fine points of ensuring a smooth ceremony.

Graduates entering the hall in twos.

Taking up position in front of their respective seats.

Lead singers for the national anthem

The directors on stage demonstrating the way to sing "the Alma Mater", the school song, clasped arms in swaying motion over the heads.

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