Tuesday, May 17, 2011
"Duly Initiated": Is That What You're Calling It?
This is my second rant about how colleges "honor" their good students.
Last night was the so-called "induction ceremony" for Sarah into the Tau Sigma Honor Society. It's for transfer students who have achieved a 3.5 or higher. She holds a 4.0.
A little background: at first she didn't want to go because it was a care group night (what our church calls small group meetings) with this meeting being a social among college-age kids. She loves care group. I love ceremony. A couple weeks ago I told her it's not often that parents get to see their kids shine on stage, but she gets to go to care group every week. Please humor me. (Yes, I am a terrific travel agent for guilt trips.) My plea became even more important when Ben's graduation tickets didn't materialize because his college "ran out" (see previous post if you haven't, and if you care, and who could blame you if you don't?).
Sarah was told there was no guarantee that it would be over by 6:30, but that her name would be called first since she explained she needed to leave by 6:30. I was expecting to have to slip out inconspicuously while some big whig was yammering away at a microphone.
So we make plans to arrive at Towson by 5:20, hand Joel off to Ben in the parking lot, expecting that "light refreshments" start at 5:30, will last 15 minutes with mingle-till-you-tingle, and then the formalities get underway .
What actually took place was a far cry from our expectations. Sarah and I fought rush-hour, accident-laden traffic in the rain and arrived at 5:25, did the hand-off, met up with Paul, and headed upstairs for the light refreshments, which consisted of small cold tortillas, cold stuck-together mozzarella sticks (I couldn't even separate the two in order to leave one in the pan). I took a bottle of water and called it a snack. Apparently the "mingle" portion was more about hungry guests getting something to tide them over. All of this took place in a crowded little conference room with a banner up front, some TS souvenir stuff like beer can holders (because the brightest students can hold their liquor as well as their GPA with the greatest of ease).
It was standing room only for Paul and me and a few other parents.
The emcee stood up and introduced himself as a native Baltimorean who was glad to be back in the area after three winters in upstate New York.
Okaay, so ....what does that have to do with this? Well, then he added that
these students should be very proud of themselves to be the "cream of the crop."
Then a girl in a mini-skirt introduced herself as a senior, having transferred from U Mass. She asked the inductees to rise for the Tau Sigma pledge. Some yim-yam about striving to do well in their education and upholding the principles upon which the society was based. WhatEVer. Sarah told me in the car she has no intention of getting involved , nor taking a leadership position, that the school already sucks enough time, energy, and money out of their students. She thought the $45 TS app fee was plenty "giving back"! She just wanted the certificate for her portfolio.
After Miss U Mass was finished, Mr. Native Balmer took the floor again and said, "I've got your certificates here, so just line up and I'll hand them to you. " He didn't call anyone's name. He didn't acknowledge anyone's GPA, didn't thank the parents or significant others for coming to honor their achievements. Nothing. While I was snapping this only "official" (ahem) picture of Sarah at the "induction ceremony," another mom squeezed into the room and asked me what she missed. She had just come from Annapolis. Wow. She had just fought the DC beltway rush-hour traffic AND the Baltimore beltway traffic? I hated, hated, hated to tell her, but I said, "It's over. The guy said a few words and now is handing out their certificates." The look on her face was a mix of shock , disgust, and disappointment. "I chose this one over my younger daughter's awards ceremony tonight, and I missed this?" I said, "Yeah, I know. It took us longer to find a parking space than it took for the "ceremony." She wanted to know what the emcee HAD said in five minutes. I told her, "He said they're the cream of the crop."
We had to get "real" pictures at home. Mind you, it was 6:40 and Sarah was in a rush to get to care group, Paul and Joel to a coin show, and I to the Recitatio at the new school of some of my former students. The shots below? Well, I have Joel in a half-Nelson saying, "I'm not gonna bribe you to smile. Just do it." Loving mother that I am. Paul is saying, "Dumb dog!" to Reilly who hasn't learned the command, "Smile pretty for camera" while I say, "Joel, don't worry about the dog. Just shoot from the waist up."
And a picture of Sarah's certificate which proclaims she is hereby "duly initiated" on this day in May. Yeah, okay. If you say so. Sarah and I got a couple mother-daughter close-ups, which I'm glad for, but all in all the evening left me saying, "Colleges don't care about the students. They just want money." Why am I dwelling on this when what I should be dwelling on is how proud I am of Sarah for this achievement. She studies till wee hours of the morning, making lesson plans, writing papers, studying for tests. She has interned once a week this semester in an elementary school. Sarah works as a church secretary part-time, and doesn't neglect her friends, and takes on extra babysitting jobs for money. (She chooses the better-paying ones at this point in her career. When gas costs 4 bucks a gallon, you don't take $5 an hour when some people offer you $10 for fewer kids.) All that to say, this girl doesn't sit around waiting for life to happen. She is a doer and a sweet, godly doer at that. We love her to death and were glad to be part of her seven-minute hooplah yesterday. I'm still licking the grease off my face from those symbolic-of-the-evening "hors d'oeuvres."