Friday, July 11, 2008

The Graduate

Finally! You're looking at the latest high school graduate.


Ibis doesn't like it when I make a big deal out of this - he's embarrassed it's taken this long - but I am SO proud of him. It's not easy going back to school at age 32 (now 33) and sitting in a roomful of teenagers. But he did it and now he can move on to bigger things.

Our day began like any of his days off - a walk on the beach, followed by soccer and volleyball on the beach - but we lost power an hour before we had to leave, and that's where the fun began. The power cut off before he'd gotten up from a nap so we couldn't iron his shirt. The wind was so strong we'd had to close all the windows, and without fans it got very hot inside. We pulled a mirror off the wall and carried it near a window so we could see enough to get ready (it was still light out but the bathroom area is the darkest part of the house), when Ibis suddenly gasped.

"We have to stop by the market!"

"Why?" I asked. Surely he didn't have to bring a snack for the graduation ceremony.

"My only pair of black pants are at the tailor's."

After skipping over my sarcastic comments - no time for that - I remembered we can fit into each other's clothes. "You can wear mine."

He tried them on and aside from a little more lifting in the rear area than he's used to, they worked.

We hopped in the car and weren't three blocks from our house when the wind caught a huge iron sign and flipped it into the street. Two cars in front of us. We waited patiently, trying not to stare at the clock, as three policemen dragged it to the side of the road.

"We could've been killed!" I exclaimed.

Ibis just looked at me and continued driving.

I'd asked my Canadian friend to join us so I wouldn't be the only non-Mexican in attendance, so we picked her and her boyfriend up and drove to the ceremony.

Here's Ibis with some friends before they went into the ballroom:


He's in the center of the back row. Don't they look cute?

The ceremony was in Spanish, obviously, so I missed a lot of what was said. The crowd perked up when a performance group did two traditional Mexican dances, but otherwise no one paid much attention. The valedictorian was a girl I've met several times, and while I didn't understand most of her speech, I thought it was cool someone I knew received the honor.

The graduates gathered on stage for group pictures:


Afterwards, we piled into the car and were driving to dinner when Ibis leaned towards me.

"At the rehearsal yesterday, the director told me I was the valedictorian."

You can imagine all the questions that spilled out of me, the most predominant being "What?" and "You're sure?"

He didn't tell me before because he thought it'd be a nice surprise. He doesn't know what happened, but something must have exchanged hands between 8pm Wednesday and 7pm Thursday. What makes it worse is the "valedictorian" missed a lot of classes, something Ibis was told would cause a failing grade. This girl (I should say woman; she's in her 20s) is tight with the director of the school and apparently that does more than studying and showing up to class.

I was really pissed - still am - and said he should've said something to the director before we left, but he wanted to let it go.

We drove to the taco place and were eating our dinner when who showed up but the director and his family! I behaved and didn't go scream at him in English like I wanted to, but it really burned me to have him sitting so close to us, acting like nothing happened. We said hello as we left - I'd never met him and Ibis wanted to be polite - and as far as I know, that's the last we'll see of them.

I really wish we could do something. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but it is to me. What would you do?

32 comments:

WendyCinNYC said...

I wouldn't be shy about saying something about it. That's crazy. Even if nothing comes of it, the director should know that you know what a jerk he is.

But wow! That's impressive that he went back to school. Tell Ibis that I'm probably going to be the oldest student at my writer's conference next week by at least 10 years. It's a working conference, not a pitching conference, and I suspect it will be full of whippersnapper grad students.

I'm terrified! But his story gives me some strength!

Stephen Parrish said...

I'd let it go. It's just an endorsement.

Congratulations to Ibis! It doesn't matter how old he is; everyone's timetable is different.

Janna Qualman said...

I saw you comment over on Wendy's blog, and I think The Other Side is a fantastic title! That it could mean so many things draws me in, and the to find out that's what Mexican's call the US makes it even more cool.

I think it speaks pretty poorly of the director to have said one thing and followed through with another - without an explanation. I think demanding one of him is acceptable. I'd always wonder if I didn't figure out a way to ask. I guess it's probably Ibis's call, though.

Melanie Avila said...

Stephen, my husband agrees with you. Me, a former high school valedictorian, thinks he deserves the recognition for his hard work. I'm not talking about anything public; at this point having the director acknowledge it would be enough for me.

Janna Qualman said...

...ugh, sorry for the typos above...

Zoe Winters said...

Congrats! You two look really cute together.

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, good luck at the conference! I know you've mentioned it but I didn't realize it's a writing workshop. I think you might be surprised about the age difference; there may be more "adults" that you expect.

And yes, the director is a jerk!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Zoe!

Janna, I agree. I think I've said that three times now, lol. ;) I guess I feel like I need to be angry on Ibis's behalf since he wants to let it go. I don't like letting things go...

And thanks for the comment on the book title. I like it for the multiple meanings, too.

Melanie's Mom said...

Was he prepared to give a speech? If he had spent a lot of time working on a speech, I'd probably say something. Otherwise, I'd drop it. The important thing is he finished school -- having the patience to deal with all of the craziness and the endurance to stick it out. And -- the support of his wife who even had to go to work for him in order for him to finish. Congratulations to both of you!

Janna Qualman said...

Good points, melanie's mom!

Melanie Avila said...

Hi mom.

No speech. That was one of my questions, too. He's bummed, but seems to be ok with it. Really it's just MY issue at this point.

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, she's smart like that. ;)

Nadine said...

Congrats to Ibis!! I think it is a much greater accomplishment to complete high school later in life than at age 18.

As for the valedictorian, that totally sucks. At least you both can enjoy the fact that it actually belonged to him, even if he didn't get the recognition at the ceremony.

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, that's what I keep telling him. Anyone with half a brain will recognize the determination it takes, not ridicule him because of the age at which he accomplished it.

bunnygirl said...

Big Congrats to Ibis!

My DH went back for his GED in his 30s, then went to college on an "adult admission option," which basically meant a trial run where if he maintained his GPA, he'd be made a "real" student after...oh, maybe it was 15 hours or something like that. I no longer remember.

Anyhoo, point is that he's finally graduating in December! I'm so proud of him and consider his degree a much bigger accomplishment than my BA or Master's. I went through all the right K-12 classes and had all the right support to go to college and be successful, whereas he had to fight every step of the way.

Good job to ANYONE who goes back to school, at ANY age! It's not only a sign of smarts but of character.

Melanie Avila said...

Welcome bunnygirl! Congrats to your husband. :)

It's funny you mention being more proud of his accomplishment that your own because I was just thinking that. I went from pre-school to college without a break and couldn't imagine going back to school now. He wants to go to college and it'll be a struggle but I'm so proud of him for having the will to do it.

Capt Gary Hooyenga said...

Nice pics, wearing ladies pants is he? In the course of a lifetime just knowing you really was something carries more weight than having something to be upset over. Amazing there are a lot of people who had to finish up something later, work harder and finally know it was a peice of a larger picture only to be measured when your old like me.... Love Dad

spyscribbler said...

Awesome! Congratulations! I said before I love a guy who can pull off pink. They all do it well! :-)

Ibis is the true valedictorian. He will always know that and so will we. That is really, really cool. Do something special for him from all of us, like buy him a ten-scoop ice cream sundae dripping in every possible topping he could want, with tons of whip cream and as many cherries as he wants. He deserves it! (Course, that's probably an indulgence I want right now... maybe you'd better find a more appropriate substitution for him. :-)

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Gary. :) I like that you're the only one who commented on the pants.

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, LOL! He loves sweets so he'd probably be ok with that sundae.

To everyone - he read all your comments this morning and says thank you!

Mary B said...

Getting your diploma at any age is something to be proud of. Sorry the director was such a jerk, but don't let it steal your joy for the accomplishment.

Hugs!

Aimless Writer said...

Congratulations!

You're hubby has great inner peace to let that issue go. He knows what the most important thing was here. He GRADUATED! Yay!!!!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Mary and Aimless. :)

Jenna said...

Congratulations Ibis!!

Kristine said...

Congratulations Ibis!

Laurie Ashton said...

Very cool of Ibis to go back to school and graduate. Congrats to Ibis!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks!

Turkey Lurkey said...

That is fantastic news about Ibis's graduation. Sorry he didn't get valedictorian. I would have done the same thing and followed the feelings of my hubby. Big hugs for you both! :)

colbymarshall said...

CONGRATS TO IBIS!!!!

Melanie Avila said...

Gracias ladies.

aaroncrocco said...

Melanie, I'm catching up from a long weekend, so I'm just getting to this post now. Congrats to you and Ibis on the graduation. I'm sure he's really happy about it. Looks like it was a fun time!

K Trainor said...

Congrats to both of you. To Ibis for his determination and class, and to you for loving him for it. You both Rock! :D