Here’s my draft for today, Friday 05.17.19.8
The Magic of 47
This afternoon, Friday, May 17, 2019, 48 students will graduate from my alma mater, the University Laboratory School (aka University High School), in time-honored tradition, at Andrews Amphitheater on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus.
I would like for those 48 students to know that it was my class, the Class of 1972, that first did away with formal graduation caps and gowns in favor of aloha attire. We were also the first class to adopt the lei exchange, one student giving a lei to the next, as their names are called to receive their diplomas. We also were the first class to do away with chairs on stage — we sat on beach mats. Luckily for future classes who didn’t want to sit that uncomfortably for that long a period of time, this tradition died. Chairs came back. Probably pretty quickly. Like maybe the following year.
For good measure, I’d also like these 48 to know that ours was the first yearbook, the ‘Ūniki, to include color photographs, and we were also the first class to allow for informal senior photos in the yearbook should you prefer them to the more expensive chin-propped-on-fist studio shots.
We did not, however, dance the ceremonial “Rainbow Connection” waltz on the grass floor of the amphitheater. Another class implemented that. Thank goodness. I’m no dancer. I don’t think I could have learned the steps. Besides, we would have been too stiff and sore due to sitting on those beach mats.
I graduated 47 years ago. 47 years from now, when they turn 65, I hope the Class of 2019 will look back on their University Laboratory School education as something that helped propel — and believe me, the years will rocket by — them through those 47 years in a purposeful and fulfilling direction, and may they have found great joy in living and giving of themselves to the betterment of our planet and of all humankind.
47 years from now, I’ll not be around to congratulate them on making it to retirement — and unfortunately, the way it has worked out, most of them will still have to be working toward retirement anyway — but 65 still seems like a magical age to reach, and I wish them their full share of that magic and offer my congratulations, in advance, on living so long and so well.
Including these 48 graduates, since the first class graduated in 1951, there are roughly only about 3400 alumni total. Think about that number. It’s tiny compared to schools that can pump out, say, 400 graduates a year.
To you 48, Go Junior Bows. Welcome to our very small, very proud alumni ‘ohana.