j u n e 2 0 1 6 A L I V E E A S T B A Y 23 Very few of my countless number of fans know that I love me some hip-hop. Truth be told, I have actually counted all of my fans and I'm up to seventeen. Kanye's third studio album was released in September of 2007. The CD contained numerous bold, innovative and utterly captivating lyrical masterpieces such as, Stronger, Good Life, Good Morning, The Glory and Everything I Am. Kanye won his third Grammy when Graduation was named Best Rap Album. Some might say with that album, Kayne graduated to a larger pop culture acceptance and audience. Sadly, the high school graduation episode of most teen television series often proves to be the kiss of death for many of the main characters and decent plot lines, beginning with Happy Days. The Happy Days graduation episode aired in 1997 revealing Fonzie’s secret plan to graduate with Ritchie and Potsy’s senior class. You can’t have a town hoodlum go all cap and gown. What were they thinking? Different story lines, but the same results followed Saved by the Bell, The Wonder Years, Boy Meets World, Beverly Hills 90210, all the way up to Glee’s graduation episode in 2012. Did anyone really think Finn and Rachel would get married when she had a chance to star on Broadway? Come on! It seems that graduation day is usually when a good teen series "jumps the shark" and begins its downward descent. While the series regulars always seem so youthful, enthusiastic and filled with promise while in high school, the minute they graduate they appear awkwardly older, directionless and seemingly out of place. It goes totally off the rails when these eighteen to twenty year old college dropouts pursue unrealistic careers like club owner, apparel designer and politician. Graduation itself starts with the procession of academic staff and students. The school band will likely play some off-key version of the graduation walking song, Pomp and Circumstance, to get everyone’s attention. The principal or school superintendent will wax on trying to inspire the 2016 class to greatness. The class valedictorian will try his or her best not to throw up or wet themself. Someone (often times the school janitor) will eventually get around to handing out the diplomas. The ceremony ends with caps being thrown in the air and Facebook blowing up as proud parents post millions of iPhone images of their kid’s noteworthy accomplishment. Let me stop now before I start tearing up. That darn pollen. This year, as we sit through the commencement address, invocation and speeches, sit back and recall your own graduation ceremony and see what kind of memories it brings back. What type of hopes and dreams did you have on that special day? I envy where the kids are today, but they are also faced with challenges much different than anything we ever had to consider. The good news is that the possibilities are limitless once they graduate… college. Check back with me in four years.
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