Aug 062011
 

My stepdaughter graduated from the University of North Florida yesterday and my wife and I attended the graduation ceremony.

In the 11 years that I have been in the United States, I have come to learn that things are done a lot differently over here and not always for the better.

The atmosphere of the ceremony was more like one normally encountered at a sporting event. Perhaps that is why it was held in the basketball arena.

The audience whistled, clapped, cheered, yelled and sounded horns as if they were supporting their sporting heroes.

The only true pomp and circumstance came from Elgar’s march of that name, as the graduands filed in to take their seats.

When the president of the university appealed to the audience not to cheer in order that the names of the students could be heard by their family members, his plea naturally fell on deaf ears. The dignity and decorum during my graduation more than 30 years ago, at the University of Manchester, were conspicuous by their absence.

One thing is for certain, graduation is definitely not a spectator sport. It is purely for the participants.

After the ceremony was over I wandered among the crowds outside the arena.

I happened across members of a black fraternity performing a stomp routine.

Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

This young lady sporting a bowler hat caught my eye.

Ricoh GRD III. ©Calvin Palmer 2011. All Rights Reserved.

My stepdaughter is a cancer survivor. The memories of taking her for chemo sessions at Forth Worth Children’s Hospital are still fresh in my mind. My wife and I are terribly proud of her success. She deserves it.

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