They don’t ask for sympathy, but they certainly deserve it. Once a year, Columbia County’s school superintendent and members of the board of education line up on stage at Augusta’s James Brown Arena, shaking the hand of every new high school graduate.
All 1,500 of them.
Since the opening of Grovetown High School, commencement has become a hand-cramping, butt-numbing marathon spanning a full day. That, perhaps, is part of the reality that made it so easy Tuesday for board members to allow Harlem High School to break away from the pack and hold its ceremony separately, a day earlier, at its football stadium.
Yes, the weather could foul up and drive the program indoors, but they’ll manage. Somehow schools always did, before they got too big for their gyms to accommodate all those seniors, parents and family members.
Shortening next year’s ceremonies by one school will provide some relief for those sore hands. But it might also be a start of schools looking back home for more comfortable, personalized commencements.