Final Word

By Jeff Girod

Posted June 7, 2012 in News
Graduation: For most, it’s the culmination of a lifetime of hard work. For others, it’s a family’s dream realized as the first generation stands proudly beneath a cap and gown . . .

But when did graduation ceremonies start happening in preschool?

These days it seems we’ll put a funny a hat on just about anything, including a toddler. Cub scouts, traffic school, dog obedience training—if you know somebody who’s had to sit anywhere longer than 2 hours, we’ll hold a big to-do, invite a keynote speaker and hand out a crinkly piece of parchment.

What’s that? You say you took an online bartending class or just completed court-ordered community service? Well, hire a band and grab the confetti. Sounds like someone just graduated magna cum awesome!

But preschool seems a little early to start awarding humans for a lifetime’s achievement. As a rule, you should be older than the ketchup in my fridge.

And who exactly is the keynote speaker at a preschool graduation? What inspiring wisdom is a four-year-old valedictorian going to impart?

“As we enter kindergarten next year, let us never forget the invaluable lessons learned from macaroni art. And as always, remember these inspiring words: Socks before shoes! Poop in the toilet!”

Anything with a recess or naptime in the middle does not deserve a graduation. Because if you’re breaking halfway through the day to sleep or play kickball, how challenging can it be?

I miss olden times when the only thing you got for finishing preschool was beaten up by the biggest kindergartener. Positive reinforcement is well and fine, but whatever happened to doing what’s expected without having to hire a caterer and drop balloons from the sky?

What makes things special in life are all the moments that aren’t. Life is supposed to be full of disappointments, but sometimes it’s also supposed to be a little boring. You work toward things and sometimes you have to stand in the back when someone else’s name gets called.

Graduations can’t happen every day. It’s like having a party clown follow you around 24 hours a day. Sooner or later, you want to punch that stupid clown in his fat, squeezy nose.

About 75 percent of high school students in the United States graduate on time. That means one-fourth of high school students don’t. Maybe if we weren’t graduating everyone from everything constantly, ceremonies would go back to meaning something—and high school dropouts would have something to strive for.

“Graduating” from preschool isn’t remarkable. It’s one level above being babysat. Every child who has ever entered preschool and has not been carried away by a hawk has “graduated.”

You’re supposed to finish preschool. You’re supposed to finish kindergarten. You’d have to be a complete nincompoop not to make it all the way through middle school without putting on a cap and gown and forcing everyone to sit in a dank auditorium to fake celebrate you.

Wait a minute, you might say, my grand-pappy was a school dropout in the fifth grade! Yeah? Well. This ain’t 1920, Moonshine Willie. Everyone makes it to middle school now. And if you don’t, there should be a ceremony to shame you for quitting. In fact, that’s what society needs: more shaming ceremonies.

Instead of congratulating everyone for every random trickle that rolls out of our mouths (or lower), lets institute some serious hazing. Do your job. Hell, just do the bare minimum, or be subjected to extreme, scarring, very public humiliation.

Shaming ceremonies will feature keynote speakers, too. But instead of facing the audience, the keynote speaker will be spitting distance from the “graduates. He will also have the option of throwing things, possibly fecal material. (Did I mention the keynote speaker will probably be a deranged monkey?)

All graduations suck anyway. You show up to a crowd of 2,000 people to hear less than one percent of the names announced. It’s like going to a 3-hour foreign film and after 2 hours and 26 minutes, there’s finally a 3-second phrase in English. Then you’re forced to sit through another awkward 34 minutes until the light’s come back on. Then you have to follow a 93-year-old lady with a walker to the parking lot.

Instead of diplomas, they should hand out Ambien.

Contact Jeff Girod at


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