As the graduates of 2018 turn their tassels, we turn a page into a new chapter of our lives. I wrote a few weeks ago about how the end of Sightlines Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank, was the first goodbye I had to say in high school. Now, I am writing about my last goodbye: Graduation.
As an actor, I have danced, jumped, hopped, and crossed my fair share of stages, but the one I crossed on Wednesday evening was different.
Being on stage as an actor is not quite the same as being on stage as myself, half blinded by stage lights, trying not to trip over new high heels, and trying to remember if I am supposed to hug or shake hands with my school’s administration as I get my diploma. The handshake was the most nerve-wracking part.
We had been lectured about the issues with past graduation ceremonies, and while none of us have to declare university majors any time soon, we had to declare whether or not we went in for a hug or a handshake on stage.
This “declaration” process was developed because many of last year’s grads simply walked across the stage as fast as they could without handshake, photo, or hug – nerves can be an issue when you’re in a venue as large as the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The lecture was accompanied by some very talented acting on the part of my teachers and admin team– they acted out a proper “declaration” of a hug versus a proper “declaration” of a handshake. They even illustrated, with great efficacy, I might add, the disastrous effects of what happens when a declaration is not made – one of my teachers, freeze-framed, caught in an awkward hug with his hand still stuck out for a shake. Confused? We were, too.
Luckily, when the ceremony began, we got out all our jitters, and one by one, crossed the stage. No one tripped. No one got trapped in the hug/handshake paradox. We did it.
It was nice to listen to the reader cards as my fellow graduates crossed the stage – hearing about my classmates who were going to travel, work, and study. Graduation is a type of goodbye. It is also a type of hello. As we crossed the stage, we began to cross from one stage of our lives to the next.
Friday evening I will be at Meadow Gardens, dancing the night away with my friends. The dinner dance is a magical experience, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t really looking forward to getting thrown off the mechanical bull. (Staying on the bull longer than anyone else has been my ambition since eighth grade. I will let you know how it goes.)
Dancing, awkward hugs, last minute yearbooks signings, and certainly a lot of tears have categorized this week, but I am proud to say that I am graduating.
High school was a wonderful experience that I’m happy to have shared with some truly brilliant people. I am glad to have graduated from a school as supportive and kind as Thomas Haney secondary, and I am glad to have graduated in a community as strong and unique as Maple Ridge.
Good luck class of 2018. I’m sure you won’t need it.
Marlowe Evans is a senior student at Thomas Haney and head delegate of the Model UN Delegation who writes about youth issues.