Monday, June 3, 2013


The end of the school year snuck up on us and it was graduation the other day. Daughter wanted to go see some of her friends graduate, so I took her up to the school the other night. Graduation is another one of those events where it seems like the whole town is there.

Her school holds their graduation exercises in the gym. The band was set up at one end and played the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance". The stage was set up at the opposite end. School board members and administration sat on the stage. The 38 students sat in front of the stage with the teachers behind them.

I always seem to get melancholy (yes, even a bit weepy) when I hear Pomp and Circumstance, as I reminisce about my own graduation and that of my older children. And this time I didn't even know anyone graduating.

It was a typical graduation with invocation, class officer speeches, comments from the principal and superintendent, and presentation of diplomas. The part that most impressed me was the section when the scholarships were awarded. I would have counted and kept a mental record if I had known how many were going to be announced. 

The local clubs had scholarships. The agriculture clubs had scholarships. The local college had scholarships. The ex-student association had scholarships. A tiny community south of town had a scholarship. The little old lady former teacher had a scholarship. The man who died in a motorcycle accident had a scholarship. The valedictorian got a full scholarship to any state university. It went on and on.

We talked about it afterward and would guess that there were between 30-40 scholarships awarded with a monetary value of around $50,000. Wow. About half the students got a scholarship, so that's on average over $2000 per student.

This could be the motivation that some students need to finish high school and go to college. In a small rural community, it is difficult to keep the students focused on attendance and academics. The average class size starts out around 50, but drops off by the senior year. The superintendent pointed out that just by graduating from high school, they would earn on average $10K more per year over their lifetime than if they didn't graduate. 

I thought the scholarships were amazing for such a small community. I was very reassured about the community and their high level of interest in the local students.


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