For the past eight years I have had the privilege to direct a series of live event shows at my alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology. Each year it has been an opportunity for me to retrace steps I took thirty years ago and witness the evolution of RIT’s campus. I also get to work with a great group of professionals and student professionals to make the shows a success.
The events I participate in are a series of ten graduations for local high schools. While that may seem mundane to some, for me it is an opportunity to see the transition of the next group of thinkers and doers our community offers to the world. As a Director, I prepare for each show by reading through each speech the students and administrators are prepared to deliver. I look for references that would require specific shots, angles or activities I need to prepare for during the live show. This is important because if you have ever had to document a one-time event, you know there are no do-overs or second takes in this type of production.
Over the years I have heard a lot of the same lines, expressions and exclamations. I hesitate to call them cliché’ because it is their first time crossing this threshold and to them, it is entirely genuine.
The year 2018 was different in an interesting way. Many of the phrases and expressions were replaced by unique and original accounts of personal experience. Like the special needs graduate who was selected to share his thoughts about embracing the unexpected, to the young woman who immigrated to the US as one of six children to the Superintendent who celebrated a Mexican graduate who mastered English and all of the curriculum in 7 months, with Honors. They are different. They are outspoken and will not let others sit idle while the world they inherit goes to hell in a hand basket.
I have to say I am truly proud of the class of 2018 as a whole. The adults need to stop stomping our feet while pointing fingers and take responsibility for the way things are. I only hope that as the current crop of influencers, decision makers and leaders, we can adjust our ways in time to offer them a world that is better than the one we took over.