In America and around the world, there is a rise in “graduation ceremonies” for elementary school students, kindergarten students, even preschool students. Some wonder if caps, gowns and commencement speeches are really necessary for such early stages of education…
“Good morning, parents, teachers and, of course, my fellow students. Thank you for choosing me as pre-nursery school valedictorian. Although I am only 3 years old, I think I speak for all of us when I say…
“Haha. That always gets a laugh. Look at Mikey. He’s laughing so hard, he’ll have to change his big boy pants.
“This is a wonderful day, full of new challenges and some sad farewells. We say good-bye to finger paint, cookies, juice and our teacher, Miss Mapleson, who we’ll never forget, unless, as science tells us, we won’t really remember things from this age.
“By the way, I can tell by all your iPhone cameras that you are impressed by my vocabulary, considering I have been on Earth less time than it takes to watch ‘Breaking Bad.’
“For this I must thank my parents, whose names are … um … well, how embarrassing. I only know them as Mommy and Daddy. They’re out in the sound truck, working on their documentary about me called ‘Ethan — the Diaper Years.’
“Anyhow, they deserve the credit. They’re the ones who played me Berlitz tapes while I was in the womb and put flashcards in my crib. As they always say, it’s never too early to get started on that Harvard application.
“I can’t express my gratitude to them. But if I had to sum it up in one word, I’d say…
“Oh boy. Someone better change Mikey right now.”
A time to celebrate
“Now I know certain folks are wondering if we really need all this pomp and circumstance — especially these graduation costumes. It’s true, Omar’s cap is covering his face, and Eva, Gina, Tina and Elsa are hiding under their gowns, and Max J., Max R., Max P. and Max Max are eating their tassels. Come on, guys: Show some respect!
“But special occasions call for special treatment. That’s what my mommy always says. That’s why we had my sister’s half-birthday party, and my baby brother’s First Valentine’s Day party, and the kindergarten soccer team draft night.
“Besides, let’s be honest. Pre-nursery has been a lot of work. There were many nights where we stayed up late — sometimes until 7 o’clock! — wondering which piece we should be in tomorrow’s Candy Land game. And the academic rigors of saying “Here!” when they took attendance was a hurdle. Little Thadeus is still working on that, aren’t you, Thadeus?
“And who can forget having to learn not one, not two, but ALL the words to ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider?’ I personally spent a good week analyzing how any creature can go ‘up a water spout.’ I have my doubts.
“But time waits for no child. As a wise man said…
“OK, someone help Mikey. He’s soaking wet.”
The future is bright
“Anyhow, my fellow graduates, as we look to the future, many challenges lie ahead. Real nursery school will not be easy. I hear the naps are shorter. And it’s not just animal crackers up there; it’s butter cookies and goldfish as well. Also, some of us will be expected to wear long pants.
“But for whom much is given, much is expected. We will have to close the toy bins on our own and put the caps back on the glitter. I firmly believe we will rise to the occasion. Except maybe Jacob. Let’s face it. He’s a mess.
“In conclusion, may I say…
“No, seriously. In conclusion, may I thank the many teachers, administrators, advisers, nurses, arts, crafts, dance, yoga, tai chi, photography, chess, puppeteer and zoology specialists who came to work with us, even though we don’t understand what any of that stuff is.
“And please join us after the ceremony for gluten-free cookies, thematic cupcakes, the milk chocolate fountain, the dark chocolate fountain, the carob fountain and the soy-alternative cacao fountain, followed by the ceremonious presentation of our first tricycles.
“Now let us go out in the big, wide world with our heads high and our shoes tied. Remember this day, fellow students, because you only graduate once.
“Next year, too?…
“Wow. In that case, I have to say…
“OK, seriously, Mikey needs help…”
Contact Mitch Albom: email@example.com.