As the end of the school year winds down, there are plenty of ceremonies, assemblies, convocations and whatnot to recognize student achievements.
Honoring the youngsters is a lovely tradition and they all deserve encouragement. This is particularly important for the seniors who are leaving the cozy nest of public school and heading out into the great unknown.
Speaking strictly for myself, I hadn’t attended one of these “awards” type gatherings since my senior year of high school, back in the days when Socrates was head teacher. So when the email arrived inviting all parents, etc. to attend one of these events, I was pleased … until I got a little deeper into the message.
The importance of the awards to be distributed was emphasized and, indeed, some of the scholarships were quite hefty. Then something jumped out at me: instructions on what to wear.
Not only were the instructions for the students, which I understood completely, but they were also directed at the audience. Students and guests were advised to wear “respectful business attire” and included examples: dress pants, collar shirts, dresses or skirts of appropriate length, etc.
Are they telling me what to wear? I find this moderately insulting! Do they think I’m going to show up in shorts that fit a 5-year-old and a T-shirt adorned with obscenities?
No fashion police were visible at the venue, unless they were disguised as parents. I watched as guests piled in. I saw tasteful dresses of proper length, dress shirts and ties. Also visible was an abundance of jeans, T-shirts, shorts, flip-flops. Did these people not get the memo?
Surprisingly (or not), many of the “offenders” were the students themselves. Oh, well. They’ll learn. (I hope!) I sort of felt embarrassed for a woman who sat near the front of the auditorium and needed to take her toddler to the restroom. The little girl didn’t make a sound, but mom was wearing flip-flops so we were treated to the echoing sound of her footwear slapping her heels with every step. I’ll bet she wished she had worn sneakers!
The most disrespectful thing of all was the exodus of families as their student collected his/her award. By the end of the program, the previously packed auditorium was only one-third occupied.
It was a very nice program, even if some of the presenters talked too much. The awards, which ranged from certificates to top-of-the-line tools to extremely generous scholarships were more than impressive, as were the students who earned them. And what they wore had no bearing on their accomplishments.
My hat is off to each of them. Which brings me to another point. Wasn’t there a time when men and boys took off their hats/caps when inside?
Could we please go back to that tradition?