I have always wondered why we need to rehearse for our graduation. After going to four graduations, I can honestly say graduation rehearsal is a big waste of time even if it’ll get you out of class.
It was the Summer Solstice of 2005, to be honest, I have never once thought about summer solstice since everyday is the same in Southern California. The day started out nice and cool. I put on my favorite jacket and headed for school. Not long after the bell rang and I settled into my seat for first period, the loud speaker came on. “Would all graduating students gather on the blacktop.” (an outdoor auditorium)
Five minutes later, I arrived on blacktop with my class, whispering flew through the crowd. No one knew why we were sent out here. I began to feel the sun scorching the back of my neck and head. The temperature had went from nice and cool to unbearable in the hour since I left home.
A sudden high-pitch shriek of whistle sent me jumping. The teacher I dislike the most, he who thought I was crying wolf when I was being bullied and the meanest of all the PE teacher in all of middle schools stood in front of the crowd. Everyone was immediately silenced. “In two days is your graduation.” His voice boomed through the bullhorn. “In order for the ceremony to go smoothly, we are going to spent today rehearsing.” Murmurs and whispers sounded around me.
“Now I need you all to start at the patio and found a line by your height. The tallest in the back, follow by the shortest.” Well that should be a piece of cake since I’m probably the shortest 8th grader or any grader in the whole school.
Everyone scrambled to the patio and from there, more chaos ensued, you know, pushing, shuffling, etc. I didn’t bother finding my place in line. I just went to the front of the line. Five people slightly shorter than me were already standing there, apparently I’m not the shortest person. That made me feel better. I dropped my backpack on the ground and took off my jacket and tied it around my waist.
We stood under the hot sun until the teacher arrived. Then we straightened up and put all our stuff on our backs again as he checked our portion of the line. He whispered something to the person standing at the very front, probably telling her where to go, and the rest of us followed. We arrived on the blacktop once again, standing in neat rows. The teacher’s voice boomed again through the bullhorn. “Now, we’re going to do it again. This time, no talking, no shuffling, and no sitting in line. You know your place in line. Now go.”
Until 2 o’clock that day, we rehearsed the same thing over and over. We never sat down, not once, just stood all day under the blazing hot sun with our heavy books on our backs. By two o’clock, we were finally dismissed and was told to come back tomorrow to clean up the school. I was like, we are graduating. Why are we getting punished?
I felt lucky that I wasn’t sunburned that day under the 90 degree sun but I was close though. My mom got quite angry but luckily, I had a doctor appointment that next day so I didn’t had to go pick up garbage. I felt bad for my friends though who later told me about her day spent cleaning up school grounds. To this day, I still don’t know what we did to deserve such punishment. I guess it was just this specific teacher. I just feel glad that after this disaster, I didn’t develop a fear for graduation.