The Sun News

KENT: Some traditions are all academic

It’s graduation week around our house.

Actually, with both of our boys graduating within the space of 10 days, it is graduation two weeks around our house.

First off was our Ronnie, who along the way to getting his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering picked up an associate degree in engineering technology from Middle Georgia State College last week. I will have to admit, when he first came home with the forms and asking for a check -- graduation like everything else in life is not free -- I first thought it was a little silly.

After all, a bachelor’s has always been his goal and as far as I know pretty much a requirement to being an engineer, so why waste time getting just an extra piece of paper?

But I learned, as we drove to Macon that morning because graduation was at the Centreplex, getting that associate from Middle Georgia State meant a lot to my son because it meant he was following in his father’s footsteps.

My husband -- also Ronnie -- went to Warner Robins High School, picked up his associate degree at Middle Georgia State -- back then it was a junior college and then finished his bachelor’s at the University of Georgia. Ronnie will leave this fall for Athens where he too will work on his bachelor’s degree.

My son Ronnie -- we call him Little Ronnie, even though he is taller than his dad but this is the South and that’s how it’s done -- anyway, Little Ronnie mentioned how cool it would look to line the diplomas on the wall all underneath each other, the only difference being the date and a Jr.

Sentimentality is never a waste; neither is starting or following a tradition. The Ronnies were both very proud of their accomplishments and swapped Middle Georgia State stories; Little Ronnie attended in Cochran where his father had gone as well. Seems while the mascot has changed -- the junior college was the Warriors and the state college is the Knights -- there were still plenty of fond memories that they both shared.

But while I enjoyed watching my son march in that morning and sat up straight when his name was called, I would have had a good time at Middle Georgia State’s graduation even if he hadn’t chosen to get that associate degree.

It was probably one of the nicest graduation ceremonies I have ever attended. The venue was nice, the speakers inspiring and the ceremony kept on time and wasn’t too long. But the best part was the genuine excitement from all the people sitting near me as they watched their own loved ones cross the stage.

We are very fortunate to have Middle Georgia State College this summer in our area where so many people can benefit.

I met a little boy, James, who played with a Thomas the Tank Engine while waiting on his mother’s name to be called and a grandmother who kept informing everyone in our section how much longer it would be before her granddaughter -- the first to graduate from college -- walked on stage. I saw traditional students, nontraditional students and all their families

It was a truly wonderful display of not only educational accomplishment but civic pride and family love. I left just a little misty eyed and very thankful that both my Ronnie attended Middle Georgia State.

And just a little sad that I didn’t.

Alline Kent can be reached at allinekent@cox.net or 396-2467.

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