It's graduation season and in Huntsville that means the traffic downtown is completely insane as people are leaving and going to the VBC. I had forgotten how crazy it gets around the VBC this time of year. Last year during graduation season, I was in California. So, it's been a while since I've had to deal with all the graduation traffic.
As I'm sure most of you know, Sarah Palin spoke at the New Hope High graduation on Wednesday night. For those of you who may not be from this area, New Hope is a small school in Madison County and so a lot of folks were surprised that this little school was able to score such a big name for commencement.
As it turns out, the grandmother of one of the graduates has developed a sort of friendship with Palin over the years after she won a dinner with Palin a few years ago. The grandmother asked Palin to come and Palin agreed, and an anonymous donor paid Palin's speaker fees. It's a really neat story I think.
Since Palin was sure to garner a lot of (perhaps unwanted) attention, it was decided that a ticket would be required for entrance to the graduation. My dad is a substitute teacher at New Hope from time to time and so he managed to get his hands on four tickets. However, since he had no one to stay with my mom for the night, he couldn't go and so that left me with four tickets. I asked about 10 different people about going with me and no one could make it for one reason or another and so I ended up just going by myself.
The service started at 8:00 p.m. and was on time, which was a pleasant surprise. There were 77 kids graduating and I think the longest part of the night was the time it took for them all to march in. In total, the service lasted about an hour and 10 minutes. Palin's speech took place towards the end of the ceremony, right before the diplomas were handed out. My dad had heard rumor that a lot of people were planning on leaving after Palin spoke, but I'm pleased to announce only a handful of people were rude enough to do that. It appeared to me that most everyone stayed for the whole service and I was glad to see that.
I was surprised that there were a ton of empty seats in the arena. The news stations had said that all tickets were taken, but it appears that a lot of people didn't use their tickets. Palin's speech was obviously geared towards the graduated but her overall message of standing up for what you believe in and making a difference in this great country of ours can be and should be taken to heart by all in attendance.
I was back home before 9:30 p.m. and I'm glad I took the time and had the opportunity to go. It was a nice evening and so special for all those graduates. Thanks to my dad for getting me the ticket, and good luck to all the graduates of 2014!