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Graduation: The Good, The Bad and Hoda Kotb

So this is a practice monologue I did for the project I am working on. Still developing things, but details soon. Enjoy!

Seems like my social media feeds are all full of friends, family, and even celebrities at what seems to be an enormous amount of graduations in the past two weeks. I might be a little sensitive, since I was supposed to graduate from The University of New Orleans a little over a week ago. I had some issues with my health, family issues with both my mom and the kids, and to be honest, a little bout of depression all combined for a perfect storm of crap that got me just far enough behind in one class that I just could not get caught up. I’m doing better. Kids and Mom are OK, and I’ve dealt with the depression. I’ll be starting my final classes in about another week, and if things go to plan, I will have the credits to graduate at the end of June, but will take an extra class through August because I am paranoid so I always have a plan B.

Back to graduations. This is a time where no matter if it is High School, Technical College, Community College, completing an undergraduate degree, or even an advanced degree, you are ending a chapter of your life, and for most it will be time to transition to the next chapter of your life. Time to dream big, plan smart, and begin to forge on with the next step.

I love seeing the hope in a graduate’s eyes. I grin when I see the pictures with the proud beaming parents, and the one parent that seems to have the weight of the world lifted off their shoulders as they watch their new grad walk away from the stage with that piece of paper that proves that did it.

As I was running through stories this morning I ran across a few great examples of what this should be for every graduate. Celebration, great motivational messages by the honored guest speaker, and a formal recognition of a person’s completion of a body of work. There are several examples, but the one I will point out is the great story of Harry Connick Junior coming home, getting an honorary degree from Loyola in Music, and giving an amazing speech that was fun, motivational, and most importantly just long enough that the older professors were just starting to doze off.

One of the things that seems to always happen this time of the year is that some administrator, at some institution, goes on a power trip, and someone has this special moment ruined for something that really shouldn’t be causing issues. So, if you haven’t heard, Andrew Jones is the Valedictorian this year at Amite High School. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA, and was an athlete at his school. He’s stayed out of trouble, excelled at his studies, but is not being allowed to participate in his school’s graduation ceremony. You see, Andrew has grown a beard in the short period of time that he has been out of school since his classes ended. He likes it and doesn’t want to shave it. So instead of making an exception to the student dress code so he can participate in this one event, the principal instead has told him not to show up for graduation. This is where a little common sense, and just a little bit of compromise would be much more beneficial to everyone than getting the whirlwind of media scrutiny that has followed that decision.

Another stupid moment, but this was actually more of a student caused issue is when a petition was started by Tulane University students because Hoda Kotb was scheduled to be their graduation speaker. She was not “famous” enough for their graduation. Go sit in your safe place, vape on something mellow, and let your brains catch up with the rest of you before doing stuff like that. I’m not going to read off Hoda’s resume` to you to defend her. That was a dumb thing, and it takes away from the special moment that should be a graduation. Both times, everyone involved will be more focused on the negative event instead of the great memory they should be making during these events.

Congratulations to all the graduates. I wish you all the best as you set out on the next chapter of your life.


The Good – Harry Connick, Jr. at Tulane Graduation
The Bad – Andrew Jones denied attendance to Amite High School Graduation because he has a beard.