Chalmette High Graduation 2011

May 27th, 2011 | By | Category: Top Story

Seniors Chelsea Chestnut, Jamie Saddy, Rachel Saddy, Rachel Rauch, Ariane Miller, Miranda Lion, Gabrielle Gerrick, and Drew Mays on graduation night, May 19. See all Chalmette High graduates in the St. Bernard Voice’s graduation issue inside this newspaper. Photo by William Dilella

There is always a quote by Dr. Seuss. Most often is “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Why does every graduating class do that? Is it genetic at this point—some cultural memory passed on that we just can’t let go?

Or maybe it has something to do with a graduation day of lines-lines-lines and all the noise-noise-noise-noise that brings back a Seussian rhythm or the ridiculousness—trying to neatly tie childhood to the real world as only young adults could.

Student-adults all dressed in gowns, colored the same red as that hat on Sam I Am. The procession marched into the Sigur Auditorium, as teachers screamed like the Lorax at the maker of sneeds, “Listen to me, I speak for the principle, and you children are late for the rehearsal. Make haste, make haste!”

And students replied, still walking rather slowly, “Start without us, if you must. We’re no longer high school students, so you’ve no power over us.”

The students stand, fully dressed for graduation rehearsal—caps, robes and other ceremonial vestments—standing, singing, practicing the order, the marching, the sitting. The administrators ask them to stand, if only to sit one more time please. Try this thing once, and that thing too.

Prepared for the ceremony, the students are let loose. Fresh with the advice advocated by Principle Warner, at graduation rehearsal, “This whole evening will feel very surreal. But don’t trip on the steps. You don’t want to be known forever as the student who tripped on the evening of graduation.”

The parents arrived, the line stretched on forever, as the Sigur Center sign blared out in bright colors, “CONGRATULATIONS, CLASS OF 2011.”

Students spend the free half-hour posing for photos and chatting with each other. Eventually, the line of parents filed in, and the students soon followed. The Chalmette High School Orchestra played the students to seated attention.

Superintendent Doris Voitier was called, to bestow her well wishes and earned wisdom on the students in the crowd.

“This class has distinguished itself as academically strong,” said Voitier. “In fall 2007, you moved from the trailers to the main building, ready to meet the challenges of high school. Excellence became your standard, and our expectation.”

Voitier quoted a statesman from the early nineteenth century: “These are troubling times. Our national economy is in shambles, our national security in jeopardy, and the moral fabric in question.”

Maybe Voitier wanted to assuage students’ fears of the societal debacle they’ve inherited.

The world has seen worse, and generations then overcame. This student class has now been tasked to do the same.

As the evening came to a close, the class Valedictorian, Duyen Thanh Hoang, reminded, “No more painted chests at football, no more cheers at basketball games, no more painted t-shirts at volleyball matches.”

Concluding her speech, and commencing the exit procession—the end of one thing and start of something else— Hoang finished with something new, a line from Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle,” which summarized said, “The truth does not make a man happy, strive for what does.”

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