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Carol Perkins: Best graduation - WKU Spring 2013

Author, a teacher, has seen many graduations. This one, she said, was the best. It was orderly, not overly long, and President Ransdell gave an upbeat, interesting address
Next previous Carol Perkins article: Carol Perkins: Prom. I feel it in the air

By Carol Perkins

My great niece, my sister-in-law and her stepdaughter graduated from Western last weekend. Never one to jump up and click my heels, ready to go to any graduation, I have to give Western credit for hosting the best one I have attended and I have attended many.

Here's why I liked Western's graduation. First, it was around two hours in length. That was obviously because were at least four different graduations at intervals starting on the previous Friday night.

Second, after the program, those in charge managed to get the graduates up and down and back to their seats in less than an hour.

Next, the president of the university was very upbeat and interesting during the program; not robotic. He made ME feel a part of the school and I went to EKU. He talked the talk of a father or an uncle, giving sound advice and assuring them that they could achieve from this day forward. When he said, "I was sitting where you are in 1973," Guy looked at me and said, "I was sitting out there in 1973, too!"

I was also impressed by several other factors. First, I was surprised how mannerly the graduates walked in and out, looking neat and proud, compared to some graduations I had seen. I liked how they decorated their hats very elaborately, most with lots of bling. I liked the singing of My Old Kentucky Home and the school song. I liked that the president recognized single mothers. He recognized parents, grandparents, and all other relatives. Four students who had finished their degrees and ready to begin their military service in the US Army were sworn in and received a standing ovation. Basically, I liked the way this graduation was organized.

I have been to one UK graduation and it was a zoo. I have been to one Centre graduation and it was very formal and nice, but it would be since it is known for its pomp and circumstance and there were not thousands of graduates. I have been to three graduations at UL and those were the worst. A zoo on steroids. Not the graduates; but the crowd.

As a matter of fact, when my niece walked across the stage last year, the noise from the gang who supported the graduate before Sarah was still whistling and shouting so loudly, we didn't hear Sarah's name. At least I saw her on the big screen; my mother even missed that! This graduation lasted for hours.

At Western's graduation, the crowd was somewhat dignified. A group, here and there, resembled a group at a pep rally, but they didn't bring down the roof. They cheered quickly and then stopped. Nothing rude or obnoxious.

As the graduates passed my front row seat on their way back to their seats after getting their diploma, I began to take notice of their shoes. (I was growing tired by then.) Most of the girls wore high-very high-heels and wobbled on the unsteady floor.

A few wore flats; others wore wedged heels. Some of the guys wore dress shoes (that's what I call them), a few wore funky sneakers. Most wore ties. What I really noticed as they passed by is that they all had the same teeth. I want to know where I can buy those teeth.

As each graduate walked up to get his/her diploma, did the handshaking, picture taking, and hugging of some of their teachers, they were given a red towel.

The symbolic red towel! I knew what was about to happen and I immediately thought how neat it would be if high schools would do this for their graduates.

This was special, though, because of Western's red towel tradition, and sure enough, the president led the students in the wave of red towels. This gave me chills. - CAROL PERKINS.

Carol Perkins can be heard on 99.1 FM, the Hoss with her new show, Susan and Carol-Unscripted, on Wednesday night from 5pm-7pmCT and Sunday from 4pm-6pmCT)

This story was posted on 2013-05-19 08:04:06
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