It has happened: Slugson #2 graduated from Berkeley High on Friday, June 13. Mrs. Slug and I are facing Empty Nest Syndrome as this summer winds on towards autumn. We are proud that our boys are going off to find their own lives and hope that the preparation we provided will serve them well.
The graduation ceremonies were held at The Greek Theatre amidst a sun-drenched setting. For us, the event really began at around 3:00 PM as we scrambled to make our last minute preparations in anticipation of spending Happy Hour at The Greek. The ceremonies would not officially end until almost exactly 8:00 PM when the great mass of parents, families, and friends exited the venerable venue.
As we had done for Slugson #1's graduation at the same venue, we parked at Upper Hearst Lot a little before 4:00 PM. Slugson #2 hustled off to The Greek to join his classmates to line up for the procession into The Greek's Pit. Meanwhile, we walked down Gayley Rd. and stopped when we got to the end of the line just a little beyond the service road that leads to Stern Hall and Foothill Student Housing. We stood in line with very little movement until about 4:35 PM when the gates were opened and the line began to move. Around 4:45 PM, we had found our seats in the top row of the Bowl, just a little left of the center aisle. A little after 5:00 PM, we opened our water bottle containing Vesper Martinis and enjoyed Happy Hour with Slugson #1 (who will turn 21 in August).
Around 5:15 PM, the BHS Orchestra started playing Pirates of the Caribbean featuring the performance on cello of a graduating senior. Will is a friend of Slugson #2's almost from kindergarten; his parents sat in the row in front of us for the graduation ceremony. Will ran from the stage shortly after Pirates of the Caribbean ended so that he could join the processional line of seniors as the strains of Pomp and Circumstance started to float out over the audience.
Will blowing kisses to the crowd.
Soon, Slugson #2 could be seen in the processional line -
Who is that handsome devil in the Raybans and Academic Choice sash?
The graduating senior following Slugson #2 in the Processional was an Albany Little League teammate and fellow All-Star, Parker.
The Processional continues to fill The Pit.
After the Processional was finished, a Welcome to the crowd was said in 14 languages by 26 different speakers from 16 countries, all of them BHS graduating seniors. The BHS Principal introduced BUSD dignitaries and the MCs, who would announce the names of each graduating senior.
The crowd was treated to two dance performances, three musical performances, a Spoken Word performance, and two short speeches by graduating seniors.
Then, the Class of 2014 was presented. The graduating seniors arose, one row on each side of the aisle at a time. Each row moved towards the wings of the stage and rejoined as they approached the doors at the middle.
Slugson #2 offering congratulations as he moves to the left wing of the stage.
The graduating senior file through the middle doors, are announced and receive congratulations from the BHS Principal (in the white suit).
Then, the line moved forward as each name was read aloud.
Slugson #2 listens while his classmate in front of him is announced.
Slugson #2 offers his hand to Principal Scuderi
The announcements started around 6:30 PM and did not end until about 7:55 PM. The 2014 Commencement Program listed 832 graduates in the Class of 2014. While these announcements were going on, I noticed that a number of mortarboards were decorated, some with the schools that these graduating seniors would attend in the fall. Here's thumbnails of mortarboards adorned with school initials or symbols -
My guess is that "OXY" refers to Occidental College; "BU" refers to Boston University.
Another student bound for UC Davis. (left) Fiat Slug! (right)
The top of the Campanile can be seen over the canopy shading the Greek Theatre stage.
The crowd at The Greek
Mortarboards are flying.
Berkeley High's graduating class is one of the largest in California each year and the ceremony is held in an awesome venue. Personally, my graduating class was 232 students and we graduated on our high school's football field while the guests were in the stands on the home side.
What are your memories of your high school graduation ceremony?