Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

Two Days, Two Worlds, Two Graduations, Part I: The Promise

Dec. 7, 2001: On the last day of my student teaching assignment, I said farewell to the 2nd grade class with which I was initiated into the profession. “I expect all of you to graduate from high school,” I told them.

            “Mr. C,” one of the boys asked, “are you coming to my graduation?”

            “I will if I can,” I replied.

            Brendan immediately began taunting Tara, a girl sitting beside him on the floor: “Mr. C is coming to my graduation!” not realizing, if all things remained unchanged, they would be participating in the very same ceremony.

             It may have appeared strange to my cooperating teacher that I was speaking of such a remotely distant event to a group of primary students. However, graduation was a topic dominating my thoughts those days.

            Nineteen years earlier to the very day, I had dropped out of high school. Following years of struggles, highlighted by unemployment, homelessness, crap jobs, shattered dreams and a fragmented collegiate career, I was now wrapping up my last day as an undergrad and looking forward to my very own graduation.

            This would be my first graduation. Nearly 20 years earlier, I watched from the bleachers as my cohorts – my friends, cousins and lifelong acquaintances – walked across the stage without me. Despite the obvious reservations, I chose to attend to support my class; nevertheless, it left me with the most agonizing Left Behind sensation imaginable. Then when I earned my Associate Degree, a clerk in the community college registrar’s office unceremoniously handed me my diploma, sans pomp or circumstance.

            So yes, I was keenly aware of the approach of my first ever graduation as I invoked my students, in an indirect manner, not to follow the same path as me. A month later, I did, in fact, participate in  my first commencement ceremony, received my Bachelor’s Degree, and began looking for my first teaching position in a less-than-favorable job market.

To be continued . . .

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