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Unsent Letters: 8th Grade Graduation Edition


Dear School Superintendent,

I wanted to take some time to let you know how thrilled I was to attend my son’s graduation from the middle school last night. The teachers and staff made sure that the ceremony was one I’ll never forget, in ways that only a bureaucracy like the school system could.

First of all, I thought it was wonderful how the school demonstrated its commitment to the environment by turning off the air conditioning system in the gym. It was only 85 degrees outside yesterday – no need to waste energy in the name of comfort! Once hundreds of people filled the gym and the indoor temperature reached more than 100 degrees, it was obvious how much our schools care about carbon footprint reduction. I know you could have opted to use the football field for the ceremony, but instead, you okayed the use of the gym to show that our schools care about Mother Nature! That means a lot to me as a parent.

Right after the ceremony when the ambulance, fire department, and rescue squad had to come help the people who passed out, I marveled at the educational opportunity the school provided. Even during a celebration, it’s so important for our kids to keep learning! Why read about CPR or smelling salts in a book when you can witness them firsthand? It also inspired a discussion about heat stroke and dehydration on the drive home. I’m proud to know that my son’s school cares enough to provide its students with real-world applications for the lessons taught in the classroom (or in the gym, in this case).

I also want to thank whoever scheduled graduation for the night before the last day of school. Since the entire week has already consisted of nothing but watching movies and going outside, it’s important to maintain a sense of routine for the students. I was so excited for the chance to explain to my son that he had to go to school even though he already graduated! It provided some much needed parent/child bonding time, as well as giving both of us a chance to practice using our outdoor voices. The scheduling for the event was so thoughtful; I’d love to know who came up with the idea so I could give them a more personalized expression of my gratitude.

Finally, I want to let you know how much I appreciate the school’s decision to relax the dress code for graduation, even after an automated phone call telling parents that it would be enforced as usual. Not only did my son find out that the real world is unpredictable, but he also got to experience tons of attention from his peers since he was one of the only boys in dress clothes. I also see the immense value in giving the other male students a head start on their high school wardrobes of camo shorts and Tapout t-shirts. And all the girls in miniskirts, strapless tops, and hooker heels were probably overjoyed to prepare for futures full of underage drinking, one-night stands, and plastic surgery!

Overall, the graduation ceremony was remarkably well-executed. The middle school’s motto, Excellence Without Excuses, was evident in the care with which the event was planned. Thank you so much for allowing me to attend a ceremony I’ll remember for the rest of my life. If I were any more enthusiastic, I’d have to come to your house and punch you in the gut!




About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web developer and mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!


  1. My middle school didn't even have air conditioning. And out in NJ, schools get out in June, not May! My favorite memory was how the principal spent 5 minutes in the opening talking about how great the next year's ceremony was going to be when they were moved into the new school they were building, with air conditioning and more comfortable seating.

  2. Vanessa -- Random Thoughts & Acronyms says:

    Congrats again to Jayden!!

    We don't have middle school here but when I graduated elementary school (in grade 6), we wore proper clothes and proper school etc (I INSISTED on wearing a pants suite and all the girls were like wtf). When my little brother graduated elementary school, the girls in his class were dressed much the same way as the girls in your son's class — bra straps, hooker heels etc. WHY ANDREA WHY!? Kudos to you for making sure your son was dressed appropriately 🙂

  3. That sounds about right! As infuriating as these letters actually are, I love the sarcasm and the overall execution. Sorry that the whole event sort of sucked.

  4. I'm sure you don't mean anything by it, by saying that girls who wear " miniskirts, strapless tops, and hooker heels" will probably end up binge drinking and having one-night stands is an example of slut-shaming. It's the same excuse people give if a girl was out partying and ended up being raped. You're judging them based on their attire. And if it really was that hot, then doesn't it make sense that they would try to be comfortable and wear something short? In short, please use your words more carefully next time.

    • Zina, I've never heard of slut-shaming before (are sluts a protected group now?), but it's simply naive to think that people don't make judgements based upon appearance. If a woman doesn't want to be seen as a slut, then she needs to think about that before leaving the house in stripper attire. That you brought rape into the conversation is strictly inflamatory and unnecessary. Very few people think anyone deserves to be raped because of their appearance. Your point is completely lost when you say that women wear short skirts and plunging necklines because of temperature. As a woman, I find that laughable. It's also find it irresponsible that women today think they bear no responsibility for the message they send when they decide what to wear (or not). If you're going to dress slutty (and I assume you do because of your defensive post — see there, now I'm judging you based on your words), then own it. If you don't want to be described that way, then dry dressing in such a way as to leave something to the imagination. Sorry, Andrea, I just couldn't help myself (she says as she steps off the soapbox).

    • These are kids. I'm terrified for my nieces when they get a little bit older. When did it become ok to let children sexualize themselves or for parents to allow it. You can dress however you want when you're grown, but this is a formal event at school for kids. Thirteen will always be a kid. You can wear weather appropriate clothing without dressing like a slut. It's not that hard. People always judge by appearances first. That is human nature. Like it or not, your clothes present your first impression. Those kids need to know it. Somebody should tell them so they can decide if that's how they'd like to be viewed (enter the parents – oh wait they've failed at this already by buying them the damn clothes in the first place).

  5. If your only indicator is clothing, I don't think you can make that argument. If you said that they were doing poorly in school and having personal problems, I might agree with you. But wearing a short skirt does not mean you'll be making poor choices in the future. Maybe their parents don't care about what they wear because they know that clothes are not an indicator of future success?

  6. That letter was AWESOME! I really enjoyed reading it.

    It reminded me how rediculous schools can be. When I was in 8th grade our graduation (maybe 200 kids) took longer than my high school graduation (700 kids). Its amazing how a school can really mess up something like this that is supposed to be special for the kids.

    Again, loved the letter!

  7. Even though I didn't drink in high school, I know plenty of people who did who graduated from good colleges, are employed and are doing well. I don't think their parents encouraged partying behavior, but they also didn't set 10 p.m. curfews. I also know kids whose parents didn't let them drink and kept a tight rein over them who ended up being crazier in college because they'd never had that freedom before. So I think you have to have that balance. But I still don't think we should teach girls that it's somehow wrong to wear short skirts and tank tops, that it's something to be ashamed of.

  8. DontDebt says:

    Oh how I hope you send that in to them. Of course, there is little that the teachers and administrators can do in regards to some things. Yes, they are in control of the scheduling and air temperature in the gym. But I just don't think they are equipped to handle the kids with behavioral problems or poor choice of dress. The parents of those children are the real culprits. What sane person even BUYS clothing like that for their kid, much less lets them wear it in public?!?!

    Oh, I see all sorts of things here where I work. From pajamas to stripper attire, I just don't get it. Heels HERE? There is no way I'd wear heels to walk all day here.

  9. That's funny. I never had a graduation ceremony between pre-school and high school, so I couldn't relate. Honestly it's too bad that the school didn't enforce the dress code. Send the kids home that weren't compliant. Word would have gotten out real fast AND been handed down to future graduating classes.

    • Christi Frederick says:

      And that is exactly right. SEND THE KIDS HOME that are non compliant. That is what we do, we are a public high school in a little country town in Oklahoma. Punishment is swift and severe here and PARENTS are not in control of our rules and dress code. We have had motivational speakers that have visited our schools comment on how well behaved and mature our student body is. It is ENFORCED. High expectations personally and academically translate into some of the highest test scores in the state, and students from the middle of nowhere, coming from an agricultural background, being first in their families to attend college and successfully complete college. Maybe we are the exception, but if our girls are at off campus events dressed in super high heels and low cut, too short attire, they are ostracized by their peers.

  10. Christi Frederick says:

    I have to weigh in on this. As a Public High School teacher, our Middle and High Schoolers are not allowed to wear anything that shows the knees or is strapless, including tank tops!!! If you do, guess what? You don't walk across the stage, that is policy. As a parent, my girls (one in Middle school, the other a Sophomore) do not dress inappropriately, and wouldn't even ask to wear those things. As far as labeling goes, it's not only the adults that deem these girls "slutty" or "underage drinkers"…more importantly, it is their peers. Whether they are acting inappropriately or not, they are advertising sexuality and inappropriate behavior by the way that they are dressed. SHAME ON THE PARENTS for allowing these young ladies to be dressed scantily only to be ogled by a bunch of horny, middle aged men, not to mention the teenage boys. Most of the mothers who let their daughters dress like this, coincidently, were unpopular, unattractive teenagers themselves, trying to live their teenage dreams vicariously through their daughters…and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

  11. How awful! That is really scary that children that young feel the need to dress so trampy. Maybe their parents gave up on them a log time ago. Whatever the reason, its still unaccpetable

  12. As ateacher, I understand your frustration. I, too feel frustrated when I have to deal with my school district.

  13. Wow. I am speechless. People passing out from heat? WTF? Someone definitely deserved a punch in a gut. And not just one!

  14. Awesome letter. I wish you had sent it. At least send it to the newspaper for letter to the editor. Might want to take out the physical threat though. You made me laugh, unfortunately at the expense of a horribly planned graduation. Congrats on the graduation, no good on the circumstances.

  15. you're the best!

    Surprised at the comments though..I've gotten harped on by people calling slut-shamers for comments I've made on my blog too, but I do think how you dress is important. There is appropriate and inappropriate dress for all occasions, and I think it's in everyone's best interest to be modest & professional when the occasion calls for it (which should be always).

    • I'm not a bit surprised, unfortunately. I could write a post about rain being wet and people would argue. It's just the nature of this site lately!

  16. BAWHAHAHAH….!!!! Had to read this to my husband as I was getting a lot of funny looks as I laughed out loud reading this initially. Great way to vent without wasting breath complaining to people who obviously could care less.
    Your son can be proud of his accomplishment and the fact that he did play by the rules. : )

  17. That was probably the best written post I've ever saw. Like you Andrea, I think parents these days are trying more to be friends with their kids, instead of being a parent.

  18. This is one of the funniest posts I have reAd in a very long time. I was laughing so hard while reading. It's good to get things off your chest even if it never reaches their ears.

  19. Oh, you should so send this letter. Just sign it anonymous. Someone needs to get a clue in that school system.

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