For once I wish everyone actually did have their iPhones out and creating videos last week during Washington School’s graduation after-gathering.
This gathering, where the seniors and their parents are sequestered for a dinner and show, is one of the more brilliant ideas for keeping graduating seniors safe on the night after graduation.
When I graduated 26 years ago, we walked across the stage, hugged our parents and went to a party in the woods somewhere. Our parents didn’t come or know where we were.
It’s a wonder no one at that party ended up in a ditch or was lost on the way home.
While this gathering sequestered the new graduates together for one last time, it also gave us parents a chance to laugh heartily at them as there was a hypnotist involved.
While many may scoff at hypnotism, I, for one, can tell you it works. My oldest son Walker will try to say he wasn’t actually fully hypnotized, but I have no doubt he was. During the performance, he wasn’t trying to be the class clown and he was fully engrossed in any command the hypnotist gave him.
The laughs rolled all night long while the hypnotist prompted the 10 students through a variety of pratfalls and skits.
Nothing was very embarrassing but the graduates were doing things they would not normally do in front of a crowd.
Though they were things they wouldn’t normally do, the actions were not things they wouldn’t do.
The basis of hypnotism is a deep concentration and relaxation. The hypnotist can really only suggest things to you, but you follow the suggestions to the fullest.
In fact, many people, Walker included, swear they weren’t really hypnotized the farther they get away from the performance.
And what a performance it is.
It also happens to be one of the best naps a human being will ever take.
I was hypnotized once, but it didn’t work exactly right on me. I went too far under and basically fell asleep on stage.
While the hypnotism was a part of the gathering that evening, it wasn’t the most important item on the agenda.
The most important item was for these students to be with their classmates one last time in a non-school setting.
That exact group will never gather together again.
It doesn’t matter how many reunions or homecomings are held, that group will not be intact in its entirety ever again.
I went to and graduated from a small public high school in Florida. The 89 of us who walked across the stage together have never been in the same room again.
I know, because if 88 of those other people gathered, I’d be the one who wasn’t there. I haven’t returned to my hometown of Williston, Florida, for more than short visits since I graduated from college in 1998.
I’ve seen pictures of class reunions and gatherings held by the class of 1993, but I was never there. (I don’t see those pictures anymore as I haven’t been on social media for months. It’s great, you should try it.)
But that’s not what I wish for my children.
I want them to roam the country, but feel a strong need and draw to their home in the Delta.
I want them to live in far-reaching places, but return often to rekindle their relationships made here.
I want them to finally return here to build businesses and raise families because, if our own children won’t come here, who else will?
Though I doubt any of those seniors from last week will read this column, I’d hope they found the time they have spent here so far to be rewarding enough to make the Delta a permanent home. Not today, but in the future after they’ve had a chance to sample all that the world has to offer.
Then they might realize just how good they had it with their 43 friends in that room last week.
Angel Alert goes out to all the men who put on the blue uniforms of umpires and officiate the games our children play. Sure, you make some horrible calls, but what people don’t realize is your correct calls far outnumber the incorrect ones.
Jon Alverson is proud to be publisher and editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. Write to him at email@example.com or call him at 335-1155.