Friday, May 21, 2010

Graduation Ceremonies, History, Ducks, and a Rock

For generations, Loonfoot Falls High School has had its commencement exercise on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, or the next Wednesday. Each year the day is determined by an equation that fills two pages of the superintendent's manual.

The real mystery, though, is why the LFHS graduation ceremony is so late: long after classes are over and paperwork filed for the school year.

One story is that the ceremony was tied to the Memorial Day Weekend during the Great Depression, as a way to give people with strapped finances an excuse for not taking a trip. It's a good story, but there's no evidence to back it up.

Another account, first published in the 1920s when this paper was the Gazette, tells that the school principle, Mr. Herschel Thornton, lost his wife to pneumonia in May of 1919, and accompanied her body to Boston for burial.

As a mark of respect, the Class of 1919 delayed their graduation ceremony until Mr. Thornton returned. I checked: there was a Mr. Herschel Thornton serving as principal in 1919, and school records show that the spring 1919 graduation ceremony was delayed to late May.

But that doesn't explain why, generations later, Loonfoot Falls High School graduates wait to receive their diplomas until late May or early June: or why the date of the ceremony depends on such things as how many ducks are seen on Mosquito Flats and the date on which a five-pound rock breaks through the ice on Loonfoot Lake.

No comments:

("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Loonfoot Falls Watchers