The Class of 2014 graduates this week and they will don caps and gowns, march to “Pomp and Circumstance” and hear speeches with the themes of celebrating accomplishments and making dreams of the future become reality.
Graduation is a rite of passage with a long history.
A look back locally:
90 years ago: In late May 1924, Winston’s Stationary & Gift Shop in Suisun City advertised graduation gifts for Armijo High School seniors (Fairfield High didn’t open till the mid-1960s) in the Solano County Courier newspaper. The suggested gifts included incense burners, loose-leaf recipe books, Corona typewriters, portable Victrolas and cigarette boxes. In another ad from the Smart Dress and Hat Shop in Vacaville, graduation dresses that were “decidedly moderate” were hawked and the ad boasted that no two dresses or hats were alike.
80 years ago: While Armijo’s graduation ceremony in 1934 had familiar elements that are still used today – the processional, presentation of diplomas, etc. – it was definitely more artistic. The night before graduation, the school play was presented and the day of the ceremony there were orchestra pieces played, songs by a girl’s chorus and an instrumental number from a trio.
70 years ago: The pictures of the graduating seniors in the 1944 Armijo La Mezcla yearbook reflect the fact that many students who had begun their high school experience at the school were not there at graduation. The Japanese-American students were still in American internment camps as World War II raged on.
The Daily Republic still covers graduations every year, but back in the day they used to have a special graduation edition that featured pictures of every graduate from Armijo, Fairfield, Vanden, Sem Yeto and the middle schools as well.
One sad thing I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention was how it seemed that every year around graduation time, you would hear about teens dying in horrible car crashes – usually involving drunken driving. So congratulations to the Class of 2014, whichever school you attended. By all means, celebrate your achievement, but please do it sober.
Other locals shared graduation memories:
Kurt Vineyard: I qualified for the state meet in track to be run at the University of California, Berkeley, on the same day as graduation. You’d think there would have been a mention at graduation of where I was. At my 10-year reunion, I ran into friends who thought I hadn’t graduated.
Donna Ingram: I was Armijo Class of ’69. While waiting to start the processional, the principal read everyone’s name to make sure they were in the right place and that he was pronouncing our names correctly. My unusual middle name is pronounced just the way it looks: Macolee. The principal kept trying to make it into a fancy name, and each time he said “Ma-CO-lee” I corrected him with “Mac-o-lee.” I think I finally said to him, “It’s an Okie name; it’s just Mac O Lee.” I was surprised that he pronounced it correctly at graduation!
Vicky Valentine Proud: In 1988, we had a blast with all the beach balls and stuff flying about. It made those four valedictorian speeches fly by.
Paula Lindsey: At Fairfield High in 1968, everything about graduation was new. Not only that the seniors were graduating, but that Fairfield High was finally a four-year school. We were all excited to be the first graduating class. I really don’t remember much about the ceremony. The thing I do remember is that we didn’t get our yearbooks until after graduation, when we came back from Disneyland. That’s why when you find a 1968 Fairfield High School yearbook, there won’t be many personal words from friends and teachers.
Kevin Tenney: I believe it was the year my brother Dennis graduated from Fairfield High – 1975 – that they built the swimming pool next to the gym. After the graduation ceremony, Dennis, Jim Quinn, Rick and Randy Allen and I all jumped from the gym roof into the pool. The school immediately built a fence across the gym roof, which I believe is still there.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at email@example.com.