Here's the scoop: June 19, 2013

That time of year
High school graduation is an exciting occasion. It’s filled with Pomp. Circumstance, too.
This time of year is special for graduates and their families. For the rest of us, it sort of makes us feel, well, old(er).

Since our daughter had her own graduation celebration, it seems like days and years have zoomed past and connections with the school have become far fewer. I flipped through a friend’s yearbook the other day and confirmed my suspicions: I know very few students at the local educational facility. Nowadays, My Old School, to me, is pretty much the name of a classic Steely Dan rock song with some nifty guitar work.

I try to remember what it was like during my own high school days and put today’s students and their families in my place. They must be excited.

Personally, I was never one for sitting long periods in a classroom. For those graduates who share this trait, there’s probably a sense of relief that those days are over. Plus, when it comes to college, things are a bit more lax and mental health days (class cutting) is accepted (to some extent).

New & improved
As I continued perusing the yearbook, I tried to compare that publication to the one in which my senior photo appears. Today’s yearbooks are splashed with full-color from front to back, making for a pretty slick-looking publication— filled with people, most of whom are complete strangers to me!
I understand not having a connection to many of the students in school these days, but the really odd thing is that I am finding that I know fewer and fewer teachers. There are a few “veterans” still lurking the halls of my alma mater, but these long-timers are thinning out pretty quickly.

As a result, I found myself constantly asking my friend the yearbook owner “Who is this? What do they teach? Are they new this year?”

More often than not, she’d reply, “Well, I think so-and-so has been teaching here for about 10 years.” Oh. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention (just like when I was sitting in a classroom).
I’m guessing in a few years parents who currently have their last child in school will go through this same loss of connection. Right now, though, they can enjoy the unique experience that comes from attending school is a small, rural district where everyone knows each other and special bonds are created.

Donald Fagen was referring to his higher education days at nearby Bard College and lamenting a personal relationship when he sang, “…and I’m never going back to My Old School.” Let’s hope today’s graduates have some sweeter memories and will look back fondly at their Old School.
— Brian Sweeney