School’s Out…Forever

Yesterday at 3 PM the bell rang and the entire senior class squeezed onto an outdoor stage for a group hug.  Then they lit up cigars – not a very P.C. tradition (at the most P.C school on the planet), but symbolic nonetheless.  They may have had senioritis for the last 3 months, but now they can slack off as much as they want…they're done.

CJ didn't come straight home because he had also graduated from Traffic School this weekend and  had to deliver his certificate to the courthouse.  But my younger son BH (who experienced his own milestone yesterday – no more braces) brought home the yearbook – the best I have ever seen…so cool, with such cutting edge design, impressive illustrations and clever copy that I want to send CJ back for another four years to experience the studio art and creative writing classes he never signed up for. 

Laughing and crying as I went through the pages, I decided that we had indeed made an excellent choice in sending our kids to a quirky progressive school rather than to a more cookie cutter institution.  After all, it's the journey, not the destination (not that CJ's destination is too shabby).  I felt proud of my own son, but mostly in awe of the class as a whole…so many of them are already producing collectible art, important music and readable prose.  And those who are just normal kids still came up with entertaining, insightful and self-effacing "most likely to's" for themselves. 

- Most likely to spike the punch with lemonade

- Most likely to survive because of what he learned on the Discovery Channel

- Most likely to become Japanese

- Most likely to have gone through a phase of being your friend

- Most likely to beat up his opponent after losing in the semi-finals at the ping pong world championship

- Most likely to quote from "Friends" in her wedding vows

- Most likely to have a font named after him

- Most likely to have an overly suggestive senior page (photo shows student proposing to his history teacher)

- Most likely to owe more in alimony than student loans

- Most likely to teach her children the wrong colors

- Most likely to hit on your grandfather at graduation

These kids may not have memorized the Preamble to the Constitution, but they are ALL ready to work for Jon Stewart.  If CJ stays in touch with just a fraction of the Class of 2009, he won't need to make any connections in college because there is a creative energy in his midst that transcends college choice.

My one disappointment with the yearbook? CJ's senior photo is ridiculous. Another tradition in our progressive school – on par with the cigars – is to pose for a silly photo, the kind you would take in a photo booth.  (Somehow I never knew about this custom or saw the embarrassingly juvenile portrait of my son until yesterday, even though it's on his student I.D.)  So CJ's main yearbook photo shows him wearing a too-small baseball cap and holding a large….wooden fish.  Seven or eight of his close friends are also photographed with same nautical artifact, making funny faces.  This was their first stab at performance art, which has a time and a place, but in this case unfortunately was captured for posterity.   The Neurotic Parent fears that CJ's grandchildren will notice the random fish and the dumb baseball cap and come to a conclusion that their grandfather was a nutcase – or else just a really happy teen with many Friends for Life.

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