24 May 2012

How far we've come


The son is finished with high school, for all intents and purposes, with the exception of a final project that he and a group are trying to complete. Prom is on Saturday. The son has been nominated for Prom King, and so we indulged his flair for the theatrical and rented him tails and bought him a top hat. He'll be a sight, no doubt about it.

Graduation follows next week.

Of course, everyone feels the burden of the seniors leaving. Most of them have been a fixture on the campus for the last four years, visible in different ways: academically, athletically, artistically.

For the last three years, the son has been heavily involved in the creation of the school's monthly news video. It's a half hour of school news, important dates, profiles of teachers and alumni, and comedy bits created by the multimedia class. The first year he was in the class, the son was tagged for the job as the video's featured personality, and in subsequent years, as part of the video's schtick, had to fend off pretenders to his crown.

This year, the new teacher really gave the kids their head, and over the course of the year, they created a pretty coherent show, the episodes of which wove together to form a series. Naturally, the final show was the farewell to the seniors, several of whom, like the son, had been heavily involved for years.

(We'll skip the part where I actually did get choked up watching my kid say farewell to something that's been a part of him for all this time, and seeing him grow magically from 15 to 18 in the course of a few seconds.)

As we watched the finale and the senior tribute last night, I suddenly had a brainstorm. His participation actually needed to be retired in the way a great ballplayer's number gets retired. I discussed the idea with the son who laughed out loud, and agreed it was a great idea.

The son's school requires that students wear a uniform. The boys have a choice of polo shirt to wear with their black Dickies, and the son has always favored the green shirt. I've been fairly fortunate in that his uniform shirts have fit him all four years, and I've only needed to replace one because a girl got makeup all over it last year. But as you can imagine, the shirts are looking pretty decrepit after four years, and I've been looking forward to throwing them away.

Today, I bought a large shadow box and tonight, the son and I took one of his old green polo shirts and mounted it in the box along with his name and the dates he'd been the video's featured personality as well as a screen capture of him wearing the green shirt from one of the videos. Tomorrow, he will present his retired polo to the teacher who I suspect will be hip to the joke.

How far my boy has come. And after years of rage against the machine that is his school, I am glad that I am creating the last laugh, one that those who count will surely appreciate even while it mystifies those who have never understood anyway.

Go listen to some good music: "How Far We've Come" from the album Exile on Mainstream by Matchbox Twenty.

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