The Graduate, His Awesomeness
The day before graduation, Reggie picked up his cap and gown at school. When he brought them home, I checked them right away to make sure that they are in good condition and that the gown is not too long nor too short. He said that they were fitted weeks before and the garment bag actually has a sticker with his name on it. I checked the tag on the gown and, of course, it was made by Gaspard & Sons. I used to work for this garment company and if I’m not mistaken, they are one of the leading suppliers of graduation caps and gowns here in Canada. They also make church vestments, by the way.
I was still working there when Reggie graduated from kindergarten. Actually he didn’t have a graduation. And I wanted so much to have a picture of him in a graduation outfit, so I asked my supervisor if I could borrow a set of cap and gown so I could have his picture taken at a Wal-Mart. She asked management, and not only did they let me borrow, but they gave me a set, for keeps. I picked the colour white because that’s what I wore when I graduated from kindergarten. Doesn’t he look so adorable in this picture?
And look at him now after twelve years. He’s practically a grown man. Ah, it makes me feel nostalgic and old.
When he was five years old, he would watch Home Alone over and over again. He actually knew the movie by heart that he would narrate to me what would happen next. He was sitting on the shopping cart I was pushing at Superstore when a lady asked him what his name was. He said, “Kevin.” And my mother blurted out a laugh. We then explained to the lady that Kevin is the name of the kid from Home Alone and that wasn’t his real name.
Now, he assumes the persona of Barney from How I Met Your Mother. Barney has a penchant for suits and is famous for the line, “Suit up!” I just hope Reggie doesn’t follow Barney’s ways of picking up women.
Reggie asked me to buy him a new pair of suit at Moore’s last November. The boys in jazz band wear black suits at their concerts. But this year, Reggie had also been suiting up in different occasions, like going to school parties and his friends’ birthday parties and just any special occasions at school. He even suited up on the last day of school. His brother, Ryan, has been telling me that his kuya has been acting weird this year. He has been going to a lot of parties, and suiting up and there was a time when he’d wear his trademark red scarf. But that was last winter. He had since put the red scarf away.
Have I told you yet that he’s popular among the senior students at REC? Yes, he claims that everybody knows him. Unlike at home where he’s usually quiet, he is very friendly at school. I just learned recently that the boy’s got a blog. After a little snooping around, err, I mean, investigating, I found out the URL. But don’t tell him. I can’t share with you the URL though. I think it’s intended to be read only by his friends. I can tell you this – the blog has AWESOMENESS written all over it. And I mean that literally. That awesomeness is also attributed to the character of Barney.
On the day of graduation, the students were asked to be at school at 10:00 a.m. They were then bussed to the venue of the graduation. The ceremony wasn’t until 12:30 p.m., but they still needed to rehearse, the only one rehearsal they actually had. They were also asked to bring snacks to tide them over the lunch hour because ceremony was expected to last two and a half hours long.
His two brothers weren’t able to come along as the youngest one still had school and the middle one decided at the last minute to just stay home. I invited my mother and also my husband’s uncle, his only relative here in Winnipeg, to Reggie’s graduation.
A few important people, including the principal, delivered their speeches. And then the valedictorian also delivered his speech. We were expecting Reggie’s friend, Sam, to be the valedictorian, but it was a different student who stood there and delivered his speech. I learned this when Reggie graduated from ninth grade, that unlike in the Philippines where it was the teachers who pick the valedictorian, here in Canada, the valedictorian is voted by the student body.
Awards were then handed out to different students. There were a lot of awards and scholarships given out. The awards have monetary value and are intended to help the students in the pursuit of college and university studies. Sam received the most awards, seven, I think. She was president of student council and she had just been a leader and mentor throughout her three years stay at REC and maintained excellent grades at the same time. Reggie told me later that she actually declined to be valedictorian because she just had too many things on her plate. My niece was also telling me that students choose the student that most represents them as valedictorian, an average student. Not everybody is like Sam.
We had a wonderful surprise. Reggie received one of five musical awards. So we’re happy about that.
After the awarding of scholarships, the students were called one by one on stage to receive their diplomas. Before the graduates come up the stage, they hand over to the announcer a paper where they have written their names and how they wanted to be introduced. For example, “Kayla Gail Jones. Lions Club awardee. Thank you mom and dad for putting up with me these last three years.” Or “James Joseph Smith. Whew! Who would have thought, I’d graduate. Thank you to my teachers and friends. I’ll miss you. I love you mom and dad.”
So Reggie’s turn came up. I saw him from a distance hand in over his paper to the announcer. And this is how she introduced him. “Reginald S– M—–. Come on down. You’re the next contestant to the price is right.” And of course, he had to insert there his “Ph. D. in Awesomeness.” The crowd loved him. The lady sitting next to my mother knows Reggie and said that he’s got a sense of humour. If you watch How I Met Your Mother, you’ve probably seen that episode when Barney went on The Price is Right Show and met Bob Barker.
After the ceremony, the graduates had to return their gowns right away. We looked for Reggie and grabbed him so we could take a few snapshots of him while still in his graduation outfit. I’m actually not that tall. I was wearing my four-inch heels. That was a bad idea because my feet were already hurting by that time.
And here’s another scoop. Instead of dressing up that day, some of the graduates wore only shorts or jeans under their graduation gown. We saw students walk up the stage in flip-flops and runners.
After the ceremony, we all headed back home and enjoyed a small feast in celebration of this special event. It hasn’t been an hour since we got back and Reggie already asked to be excused. His friend, Clay, called and they attended a workshop at the Conservatory of Music downtown.
Just a reminder: If you are in Winnipeg and have nothing better to do on this weekend, Sunday, Canada Day, is the wrap up of the Jazz Festival at the Old Market Square at the Exchange District. Celebrations start at 11:00 am and ends at midnight. Reggie will be performing with the Manitoba High School Honour Band at around 3:00 pm.