High School graduations in Southern California are not something I have ever looked forward to. They are usually crowded, hot, boring and long. They seem to last forever.I could not escape the Oak Park High School graduation this year of my oldest child. That would not have been right.
This one though, bias aside, was remarkable. And here's why:
The new principle rocks and it shows the minute he hits the stage. He is very bright, open minded, has kids in our schools and he has a lovely accent. Somehow, even his spewing of all the school and student statistics was engaging. Our guests were actually listening with rapt interest. (Admittedly the school stats are fairly astonishing, but still.)
The student speeches were entertaining and some moving. At one point I think almost the entire audience had a teary eye.
The view from the stands of the football field is like a postcard.
The Flash Mob was completely unexpected and beyond words. I have chills just thinking about. There was not one parent there that will ever listen to "You Make My Dreams Come True", by Hall and Oates without replaying that scene over in their mind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zflhizEI-0o
BUT the thing that made it most remarkable, was what my brother said to me after the ceremony. His children are older and he has been through three graduations.
He said, "I knew that you really researched Oak Park before you moved way out here. I knew the schools must be good, the area must be safe...But WOW, now I really understand why you live in this off-the-beaten-path paradise. This was the most amazing graduation I have ever attended."
Yes, parents, we knew the same school stats. We knew the crime rates. We knew that someone would always have an eye on our kids (cause everybody knows everyBODY in Oak Park). We all moved out here for the kids. But after that spectacular event and hearing it from an outsider,
I KNOW WE DID THE RIGHT THING!!!
Ahhhhh.... one down one to go.