June 23, 2007
This weekend I cried at a high school graduation in Syracuse, NY.
The event was similar to an endless parade of other graduations I’ve attended…people talking too long about stuff only they care about and holding a stadium full of parents and co-opted others hostage.
The highlights at this event were Morris Michael’s graduation, his receipt of a scholarship in memory of Columbia Shuttle experiments the school had sent into space, and the appearance of YOLANDA VEGA from the NY State Lottery as commencement speaker.
Wow. If anyone doubted that the people who pull lottery numbers out of the bins on live TV had talent, YOLANDA VEGA didn’t help disprove that theory at all.
This woman essentially told an auditorium full of captive, intelligent humans that one of the main reasons she had reached a high level of prominence and success in her life was because she had married well.
Yup. That’s right. A Latina woman was trying to inspire high school graduates from a depressed area of Syracuse to be successful in all their endeavors. And to do so, she was advocating marrying someone with a memorable last name.
Are you kidding me!?
OK. Admittedly, I was at an inner-city high school graduation and they probably didn’t have the money to get someone like Carrot-Top or Hillary Clinton (both equal in their speaking prowess according to many sources), or even a local Syracuse Orangemen coach or player or graduate (famous alumni include: Vanessa Williams, Bob Costas, Jim Brown, Ted Koppel, Donovan McNabb, William Safire and Dick Clark). But they could have even got a local news anchor and they settled for the woman who pulls balls with numbers on them from a lottery machine.
In the grand scheme of things, I didn’t really care who was doing the talk when she first started blathering, but as she went on about the importance of last names and marrying well, I got annoyed. THEN she started talking about success being possible if you have the right attitude ‚Äî disregarding skill level, training, connections and even education.
She was at a flippin’ graduation and she’s telling kids they can be successful without an education if they have a positive attitude and marry the right man.
I cried at the graduation, and now you know why.
More to come…