Graduation ceremonies are meant to recognize each student for his or her achievements as fairly as possible. Each student gets the same walk at his or her given time and the ceremonies are as painfully long for one student and his or her family as they are for the next. Every student has worked hard and tucked away the requirements for graduation and now waits for the moment to walk out.
Well, except for one student.
As the to-be graduates were filing down the sidewalk of the quad in the ceremonious march to graduation, a new name—but old face—slipped in the side to join them. A little late and flustered, Zachariah Z came sprinting out of the Nord computer lab to take up the very last spot in the long procession of students. He followed them nervously past the windows of Veale and waited amongst them, sweating, as the ceremony began.
The first student was called by the last name of Aaron. Zachariah Z’s heart started to beat a little faster. One thing was for certain: If they hadn’t gotten that memo, he was not about to graduate. He then pulled out his phone and anxiously began updating his e-mail. Every two minutes, he checked his e-mail. This happened again and again. Several hours later, while the Mc’s were being called, Zachariah was still checking his e-mail—and getting a little nervous. That’s when he spotted his SAGES professor in the crowd, reading through his e-mail with a scrutinizing look. The professor looked a little taken aback. By the time a long list of Xu’s was being called, he put his phone away. He didn’t look back up, so Zachariah began holding his breath.
“You see, I had completely forgotten that we had this SAGES portfolio thing. Yeah, apparently you need it to graduate. Like who remembers that?!” Zachariah explained after the ceremony. “Well, fortunately I realized—but not until the second rehearsal when my name was still not being called. I sat there waiting, then it donned on me that my name was first in the alphabet. Once they started and the first name wasn’t mine, well it just wasn’t coming. So I went to figure out why.”
That’s because Zachariah Z’s real name is Albert Aa. “I’m Hawaiian and I’m named after lava. I figured, that’s gotta go. That was obviously the first step.” The weekday before graduation, Zachariah— formerly Albert—spoke with his SAGES professor and discovered that his portfolio was never finished. That’s why his name wasn’t being called. He wasn’t supposed to graduate.
“There was no way I wasn’t graduating because I didn’t put together some collection of stupid freshman-year papers I never cared about writing in the first place. And on top of that, I had to make up some kind of self-evaluation essay? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Why do they promote lying through your teeth anyway? That’s when I realized I needed to change my name. It would give me like… five extra days to finish with all the time we spend waiting on that stage.”
And so Albert went downtown, paid a fee, signed some papers, updated his license and filed all of the proper paperwork with the government and Case so that he could become Zachariah Z. “Double Z. I wasn’t taking any chances.” His portfolio was submitted electronically during the march in to the ceremony, it was reviewed via iPhone during the ceremony and the announcer was alerted via text to add his name to the end of the lists.
“So, it was like that. She thought she had read the last name and her phone went off. She pulled it out, read it twice, wrote something on the piece of paper she was holding and called ‘Zachariah Z’ to walk across the stage.”
Then he added, “Of course, she pronounced it wrong.”