I had the opportunity attend 8th grade promotion at Jefferson this morning. While the keynote speaker from Leaders for Life was good (“If you don’t see before you see, you won’t see” *grin*), what I was most impressed with was the sheer number of family and friends (way more than the number of tickets handed out). I don’t know how many people can fit into the gym (much less what it is rated for), but we totally packed it (overflowing, even). Wow! Keep in mind this is 8:30 to 9:40 on a Friday morning. When I arrived at 8:05am, the line was already down the sidewalk outside the building. This is serious stuff. The parents really consider this an important event; grandparents flew in, families dressed in their Sunday best, balloons, flowers…. absolutely amazing show of solidarity and support for these kids. I also saw a lot of Unit 4 folks I know; secretarial staff, assistant superintendent, and I think Lanesskog’s daughter was in there as well. This reminded me that we are all in this together.
I had a mischievous thought. What if parents demonstrated that passion more frequently? At first I thought of PTAs, but our PTAs have become rather dry. But what if….. what if some gathering of teachers and parents could entice such large crowds and such strong support? To give up an hour on a weekday morning?
Another interesting observation I had; a number of African-American parents were loudly clapping and yelling support for various children even though the Interim Principal encouraged parents to wait until the end. One white father yelled support for his child. This is very similar to what I observe about cultural churches; black churches tend to be a lot more energetic and participatory, whereas white churches are very much “follow the program, be respectful and somber.” Personally, even though I am white and grew up in a white church, I much prefer the former. *grin* Why do I point this out? We all have different backgrounds, different ways of showing respect and support. I don’t know if one way is “better” than another. But I personally like the inherent richness of variety. I also do not subscribe to following all the rules “just because”. Some rules are good, some are bad, and we have to have a way to figure that out for ourselves. For me, it was encouraging, amusing and celebratory to hear and see parents show such vocal for their children. It filled me with good feelings. And I hate traditional ceremonies because they are way too stuffy for me.