Tuesday, June 20, 2017


The main impetus for this California visit was my oldest niece Nicole's high school graduation. The day Nicole started kindergarten my brother was taking John and me to the airport after the drop-off.  The image of Nicole with tear streaks running down her little face is still vivid in my mind. I wasn't sure leaving her behind was harder for me or for my brother....Here she is, graduating from high school, starting in Material Science at Cornell in the fall.

The graduation ceremony itself turned out to be a fascinating experience, many firsts for John and me.

1. We had cloudy weather for the 5pm ceremony instead of blazing California sun. It even sprinkled enough for some people to break out their umbrellas, in June!
2. For a California public school, the 300+ grads were 45% east Asians, 40% south Asians, 15% white.
3. To curb the competitiveness, academic achievements were solely in print in the ceremony program, and nothing more.
  • There were no speeches by the valedictorian and such. Instead, speakers were selected based on speeches they had submitted.  
  • Diplomas were given out first to class officer and speakers, then strictly alphabetically to the rest of the grads.
  • No honor cords or stoles were allowed. Caps were not supposed to be decorated, though everyone ignored this one rule. 
4. The names of the students were read by class officers.

Nicole was a little bummed that she did not get into MIT. After Saratoga High, Cornell may be a blessing in disguise.

It starts to sprinkle.
Graduation 2017 - Saratoga, California

Sun-Ling and sister-in-law watch the festivities.
Graduation 2017 - Saratoga, California

The new grad with cousins and grandparents.
Graduation 2017 - Saratoga, California

Grad, sister, and parents.
Graduation 2017 - Saratoga, California

Grad, cake, and parents.
Graduation 2017 - Saratoga, California

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