Graduation day…

We have just returned from a brief trip to Colorado for our grandson’s graduation from high school. Jack attended Centaurus High School. It is one of many in the Boulder Valley School District. The campus of most of them have the Flatiron foothills as a backdrop. They eventually give way to the still snowcapped Rockies. Not a bad place to go to school. Daydreaming and looking out the window takes on a whole new significance.  

The senior class of about four hundred marched into the Coors Event Center on the campus of the University of Colorado. The event recognized many cum laude and summa cum laude students. There was a hoorah for 38 who had taken engineering classes since their freshman year and Jack was one of them. During the proceedings there were thoughts galore in my poor little brain.

I glowed with as much pride as the several thousand who were attending. There were whites, blacks, hispanics, Asians and who knows what else? For some of them they were the first in the family to even get this far. For others it was just the first step in what will become many degrees and diplomas. Remarkably they were one and each seemed to revel in the success of the other. 

After the entrance to Pomp and Circumstance, we faced a large American flag at the end of the arena. A more than good percentage held their hands over their hearts during the Star Spangled Banner, that was played by a very credible school band. I thought about all the promise in that arena and as I pondered, arenas all over America.  Campus shootings, school board strife and book banning seemed to be very far away. Why can’t it just be that way all the time?

We walked through metal detectors coming in. Kathy’s small purse had to be returned to the car.It was too big and a gun could have been hidden in it!  It seemed so incompatible with the joy of the occasion. I am not sure if I was shocked at the gravitas or just really pissed off at the loss of innocence. 

The principal was an impressive figure and speaker. His enthusiasm was not feigned. Several kids got up to give thanks and hijinks. It had a lot of good vibes. The class voted the head security guard as the their favorite staff member. He took the plaque with humility and tears from the heart. Was it like this everywhere in hometown America? I hope so.

The next day we went to a graduation party for Jack and three of his buddies at a local sports bar. A lot of grinning. A lot of joy. Corn hole on the patio. Wings and biscuits and gravy. Doesn’t get too much better than that. 

A smoky haze was very evident. This was from the brush fires in Canada some 850 miles away. Gives you some sort of clue to the size of our country. That would be the same as smoke from the Maine/ Canadian border to Washington DC.  The Denver environs were inundated. We really are connected. 

The graduate is always invited to lunch or dinner with Kathy and me. They pick the place. Jack opted for Mexican food on Main Street. As we chatted I began firing questions of all sorts. Not to put him under the gun but because we wanted to learn so much about him. He answered with candor and enthusiasm. His parents said he might be on the quiet side. Au contraire, mes amis.

He leans somewhat left but not to the extent of his older brother’s progressiveness. He noted that the left was more prone to discussion and compromise than the right. He felt the age of our government’s elite on both sides were just too old. Too stuck in their ways. There was frustration at the inability to get things done. Time wasted. Opportunities lost.  The sheer absurdity of a $31 trillion debt that they were going to have to get payed off. 

As we talked about his aspirations we discussed money. He would like to be self sufficient in short order. Within ten years he wanted to own a house. Nothing fancy but something he could call his own. He was not anti capitalist but was put off with what we all called obscene wealth. Investment bankers, sport stars, entertainers et al were just making too much money.  The wealth gap is only going to get worse. It really didn’t make much sense to him. Kathy and I nodded clumsily. 

A lot of this was on our generation. 

One of the more interesting thoughts was with regard to media. He and his friends do not read newspapers nor do they watch TV. They get synopses here and there but don’t really believe anyone is reporting factually. He has shut down a lot of his apps for being a waste of time. That was it.  We thanked him for being with us and being such a great guy. We all hugged.

I hope this has not been too sappy or too full of braggadocio? Seeing my three kids families in action had a real sense of normalcy. Talks with all of them gave me a strange feeling of hope. They are dealing with the world but there were snippets of laughter and good old fashioned clowning around that had me feeling pretty good. This was not just a visit but an enlightenment. 

In all those chats like we had with Jack, there was a sense of openness and not any real hint of complacency. The coolest part was that there was a strict disciplinary style but also a lot of love and understanding. Nobody is perfect and that includes them.

 I have graduated with a new degree. I learned about my kids and grandkids in a different way. I think I might turn off the TV and my apps just like Jack. Most importantly I am looking at my world in a more positive and hopeful way. If it is okay with you I am going to keep my cap and gown on a little longer here in Flalaland. 

As always 

Ted The Great 


There are a little over 15 million kids in high school today. About 10% go to private schools of some sort. 3,250,000 graduated in 2020.

  • The graduation rate is at an all-time high of 85.3%.
  • The dropout rate is at an all-time low of 6% compared to the 15% college drop out rate.

There are 26,727 high schools in the US and approximately 1 million teachers. 


My good friend Oliver Halle pointed out an error in my last post regarding health and retirement programs in Congress.

“Members of congress do not have their own retirement and healthcare system. They are under the FERS retirement as are all federal employees. Their healthcare is more complicated and less than federal employees because they took themselves out of Obamacare.”

 I stand corrected. Thank you.

4 thoughts on “Graduation day…

  1. Our son Paul is the CNO at Adventist Hospital in Boulder. Hope you are well. We are heading to Illinois this weekend for graduation of our grandson. Neil

  2. I loved this column about Jack. He sounds like a mature, thoughtful young man.  Congratulations to Scott and Dionne for raising such a fine young gentleman.  


    div>I wish him good luck and god speed

  3. We had two graduations in the last two weeks. Our grandsons in Phoenix & Denver entered the next era of life with college starting in the fall. It was great to see these young men reaching this stage. We are very proud of what they have accomplished and eager to see the next chapter begin.
    I appreciate your sentiments in this blog as I have been watching their evolution toward adulthood and how things have changed from when we went through the transition eons ago!
    All the Best to you and Kathy!

    REALTOR of the Year 2016 Vail Board of REALTORS
    Past Chair VBR
    CAR Legislative policy committee
    Chairmans Circle Award for Transactions

    Mike Budd
    970 376 4511

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s