View from cheap seats

Wednesday was TG High School Graduation Awards Night. TW and I showed The Girl with every intention of embarrassing her that every time she won something through our hard work; We accomplished our mission.

Since it was in a high school, I got to see it from a cheap seat. The students sat in the first four rows while the families were in the back. This means that we can see student interactions even when we are with the official program. As Yogi Bera famously said, you can observe a lot just by looking.

For example, the gender divide between academic awards was striking; We had at least a dozen prizes before the first male students won anything academic.

They rewarded me with a “perfect presence,” which made me questionable in the context of an epidemic. There is no disrespect to the student who won it, but given the high infection levels in our county, this is not the time to encourage attendance at school and to make illness difficult in public.

The first batch of awards was a commemorative award in memory of the dead. They are usually presented by family members who talked a little about the person being nominated for the award. In some cases, the awards were named after people who are now surviving in their teens. As a parent, these are hard to hear. But I am glad that this award exists; These are beautiful and constructive ways to honor someone’s memory.

Some prizes had already been talked about, so there was not much suspense. But when they received awards in various academic disciplines – decided by the faculty – it quickly became clear that the students had not been notified in advance. The speakers would offer long-ish profiles of the winning student before naming, and we could see the student section whispering to people and looking around, trying to guess. In some cases, we played together.

They then awarded prizes for English.

It doesn’t get old to hear your own daughter described on the podium as “an indifferent reader”, “a lover of all kinds of languages” and “the author of an extended research paper so good that a high school student wrote it.” We sighed angrily, shocking TG. I’m totally fine with that. I didn’t put together what he did, but I couldn’t help but be proud to hear its spelling: author of a book review column, school paper editor, published poet, reliable source of recommendations for novels. All true.

Her friends cheered for her, and she cheered for them when they won. In my experienced eyes, they look like college students, which is almost what they are. Some of them reminded me of my college friends; I could kind of set up immediately. There is something reassuring about that. The feeling of continuity, even when each student brings a unique gift, was comforting.

Enter, TG. Cheap seats will soon be gone, but we will still encourage you

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