You know, somehow the fact that you've graduated doesn't quite hit you until about a day later. I graduated high school yesterday, and all the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony was basically lost on me until about 5 minutes ago. The speeches ranged from the repetitive to the entertaining, the useless to the wonderful. A teacher at our school who's retiring after 30-some years here was chosen overwhelmingly by our class as our guest speaker, and his wit and intelligence provided a brilliant commencement speech that none of us will soon forget.

With nearly 700 members in our class, the walking across the stage to get our diploma covers (the diplomas were being handed out afterwards to avoid any mismatched names) became an interminable mass of people whooping and hollering at various people walking across the stage. I even got a bit of applause as I walked, but not nearly as much as some. It was a good gauge of the impression you'd left on your classmates. I think I did pretty well in that regard, seeing as I came into the school as an antisocial wallflower.

Afterwards, I came home with my grandfather, cousin, and family and we all had finger foods for dinner. One of the BEST cakes I've ever had (and I'm not much of a cake eater), which is called the "Ooey Gooey Butter Cake", was basically a mixture of butter, vanilla, and lots and lots of sugar. Quite the carbohydrate and cholesterol bomb, but heavenly.

Our school sponsors an All Night Graduation Party that's paid for by the funds that our class raises for the 4 years we're in high school. This year it was at Wakefield Rec Center. The ENTIRE Rec Center. The racquetball courts were being used for such games as Human Slot Machine (3 teachers standing on stools and pulling fruit out of a bag), a nifty little Name That Tune-esque game show, buzzers and all (I did poorly on that one), and a full-blown gambling center, replete with blackjack tables, a craps table and a roulette wheel. No, we didn't gamble with real money, we got funny money to use throughout the events at the party. We each got $50,000 to start with, and there was a store to purchase all sorts of little trinkets, wallets, lava lamps, electronics... it was amazing. After gambling most of the night I had $400,000 and change, and here's what I got with it:

  • A crystal tic tac toe set, with a mirrored top (got it because I thought it looked cool)
  • A cabinet-type thing from Ikea, to be used in my new room (when it's finished)
  • A spray bottle that none of us have figured out how to get working yet
  • A commuter cup for the college I'm headed to, Northern Virginia Community College
  • And a little CD cleaner just for walking into the store.

I really enjoyed what they had there, I didn't do nearly everything that they had out for us, but after spending most of the 7 hours on my feet, my knees essentially got instant arthritis and my ankles protested every step. I lay down on the sofa around 6 AM (which is when we got home) and didn't get up for the next 5 hours unless I absolutely had to. I'm currently running on one hour of sleep for the past 24 hours. This party was fun enough to leave me saying at the end, "Somehow I wish I was being held back, if only to come here again."