Jocelyn was inducted into the National Honor Society at Guilford High School last night. I couldn’t be there because I had Naked Angels Tuesdays@9. Even though the high school is a hop, skip and jump from our house, I couldn’t risk being late for my 8:30 Zoom call. Thankfully, Jesse was able to attend and he captured the moment on this short video.
When I watched the video the first time from my phone, I thought my daughter was rudely taking things from the people onstage.
What on earth is happening? What has public school done to my daughter? Do my eyes deceive me?
Then I remembered I’m 52 and my eyesight ain’t what it used to be. I put on my glasses, watched the video again and quickly realized she wasn’t being grabby. She was fist-bumping her teachers, principal and NHS student officers.
Phew. Phew, phew, phew!
After my initial relief, I felt shame for doubting her and her public school.
My shame was followed by joy which was followed by curiosity. What must it feel like to fist-bump your principal and teachers?
I went to Catholic school for 12 years and all of my principals were sisters (commonly referred to as “nuns”) as were many of my teachers. The sisters were strict, but also progressive and kind.
I remember my high school principal Sister Anthony hugging a star basketball player at a school assembly. He had performed poorly in an important game and felt like crap about it. He tearfully apologized to the entire school for “losing the game.” Sister Anthony took the microphone from him and said he did no such thing. She said she “spoke for all of us” when she she said we were all thankful for everything he had done for the school.
Then she hugged him.
For a split-second, I was stunned to see such physicality, but then joined my schoolmates in giving the athlete and Sister a standing ovation. Mind you, I disliked high school, thought sports were stupid and actually had thought the kid had gotten a little cocky. But Sister’s compassion made me forget all that. She was great.
I like to think Sister (and at least a few of my former teachers) would have appreciated the joy and respect the fist-bump efficiently conveys.
Many things have changed since I went to high school but one thing remains: It’s heartening to see moments of mutual respect between authority and the student body. I only wish I could have seen Jocelyn walk and fist-bump her way across the stage in person.
Thanks for reading. Sending you a virtual fist-bump! -Connie
Fringe Festival Update
The following organizations have “signed on” to be community partners: Chicago Dramatists, Rockford Area Arts Council, Rockford Writers’ Guild.