Another school year in the yearbooks.
It’s always an exciting time for students (and really hot for everyone else).
For me, it is more stressful than exciting.
My stress comes from the fact that I have to read.
Normally, I am pretty confident with my ability to read. After all, I’ve been practicing since my kindergarten days in the early 1970’s.
That was a special time.
I had my whole life ahead of me. Not like today, when I have half my life ahead of me (if all goes well).
I also had a bowl haircut and knee patches on my jeans.
It was a look (don’t judge me).
Each year at graduation, I have the responsibility of reading the names of the graduates as they walk up on stage to receive their diplomas.
I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not easy.
Don’t get me wrong, the difficult part isn’t being overwhelmed by waves of emotion as I send another group of Seniors out into the world.
It’s the reading.
And there will be a new group of Seniors next year (sorry, old Seniors).
Pronouncing names is not as easy as it looks.
Sure, I’ve known most of the students for years. What I haven’t known are their middle names.
There’s something about reading off their first, middle, and last names that makes it complicated.
I always practice reading the list at least a week in advance so I will feel prepared.
And I never do.
Two minutes before the ceremony begins, I completely forget every student’s name.
In fact, as I look down from the stage I could swear I’ve never seen these kids before.
Who are they? Why are they here? What’s with the funny hats?
The look like total strangers.
Panic sets in.
And this leads to my worst nightmare, which is me mispronouncing the name of a graduate in front of their entire family.
Who wants me babbling like an idiot on a graduation video they will watch over and over again (or more likely never).
Graduation is the Senior’s opportunity to celebrate his or her accomplishments.
For me it’s a chance to do something stupid in public.
For them it’s a special night.
For me another day in a superintendent’s life.