To The 2022 Graduates…

Yep, it’s that time of year again. I’ve done graduation speeches before, here’s my 2019 offering and one for the forgotten class of 2020. Apparently the class of 2021 got shafted, sorry guys and gals, that’s my bad. Hopefully y’all are doing great. But today I wanna apologize for something else. To all you graduating Kindergarten, I’m so sorry I ever thought your accomplishment was total bullshit. Let me explain.

Before I had kids, I’d see the kinder kids graduating and thought “Bruh, you got 12 more fucking years. Get a job already.” It was harsh, I admit it. I thought it was just an excuse to sell another class picture and tack on more money for student fees, but I was wrong. Dead wrong. Anyone who knows me, knows my oldest LMSS was in K this year. And watching all the changes she dealt with this year, she deserves that party.

Starting in 2020, my poor oldest was sentenced to life with Dad and Sister School when she should have been in PreK-4 with her friends from PreK-3. But Covid happened and fucked that all up. So she had to deal with a dad who isn’t a teacher and a sister who just wanted to play for most of the year. But during that year, she absorbed enough to test into a selective enrollment school in CPS. We were proud and excited for her. She was excited too.

With her sister attending a neighborhood school for Pre-K, we decided that taking the bus was a good idea. She’s a city kid, so riding the bus is something that she needed to get used to. I remember the first day, we all walked her to her stop, she got on, really happy and off she went. My wife texted me later to ask me “How do we know she got to school ok?” I responded with “You just gotta have faith” and kinda brushed it off. Funny thing is, on the first day, the first day we had “let go, and let God” she ended up at a high school with a similar name. The bus driver announced they were at her school and our kinder star said “This isn’t my school. My school is blah blah.” Day one, she’s nervous, confused, but she KNOWS this isn’t the right school. That’s confidence.

Now, school has changed a lot since I was there. Seems like a century since I was in Kindergarten, but my kid had HOMEWORK. And not just a few things here and there, naw, this was a whole agenda for the month. They said some of it was optional, you could do the bare minimum. But much like flair, we all knew the deal, they had to do the maximum regardless what was said. The fights about homework were ENDLESS, but at the end of the year, she’s been getting it done faster cause she knows the quicker it’s done the longer she has to play. That’s responsibility.

Her bus driver, in addition to being a Sox fan, is also one of the most caring individuals working there. Always bringing the riders treats and making sure there was enough for siblings too. Just a great guy all around. Riding the bus introduced her to another group of friends and we were very thankful for that. The first few weeks were rough on our kinder star and there was a girl on the bus who gave her hugs and talked to her during the ride. In no time, she was excited to get on the bus. A good lesson for kids and adults alike, no matter how small the gesture, it could make a big impact. Over the year they went though some trials and tribulations, as a 4th grader befriending Kindergartner is something other kids make fun of, but they worked it out and our girl was still happy. That’s being adaptable.

Students getting on school bus

In addition to the bus riding she also ate school lunch, as all CPS schools provide breakfast and lunch for every student. As a parent who ate school lunch for all my years, it’s one thing that opened me up to trying different things. Think my mom was gonna make me Turkey A La King? How about Turkey Tetrazzini? It took a few years but I finally ordered up Shepherd’s Pie which was excellent. Pizza days were the best days and now my daughter was trying all sorts of stuff. But they even did it one better, if the kids didn’t want the hot lunch they could get a PB&J sammy that EVERY KID LOVES. She tried to run the sympathy game saying she was the only kid that ate the school lunch which really tugged at my heart strings. But now-a-days all the parents are connected through apps so I asked the parents who ate the school lunch. Nearly 75% of the kids ate at school and I was proud of my city kid for running game on me.

I think it’s pretty easy to say these kids have so much available to them these days and life is so much easier for them. I’ll be the first to say that’s bullshit. There is so much distraction, there are so many expectations on these kids, it’s insane. There is whole new set of worries for these kids. College. Covid. Guns. I used to worry about getting punched as a kid, but never thought that a kid would roll up into a school and shoot me. That’s crazy. So before we think it’s so easy to be a kid these days, take a step back and look. I for sure have opened my eyes on the past decade or so.

So congrats to the Class of 2022! For you kindergartners, you have started down your path that will end in 12 years, for you seniors, enjoy the next step. College or trade school, of maybe just getting a job, do whatever you do to the best of your ability. And here’s some lyrics from one of my favorite Blind Melon songs. They ring true this time of year, but should be remembered year long…”Keep on dreamin’ boy, ’cause when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die”.


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