Given my august lineage as a Willett, a Laskowski, an All Saints student and a high school youth minister, I have seen my fair share of Central Catholic commencement ceremonies over the decades. And with all due respect to the many siblings, cousins, family friends and youth ministry kids whose special days I have shared, THOSE THINGS ARE SO UNBELIEVABLY BORING. Even in the best-case scenario – great student speeches, great keynote, lots of kids you want to cheer for – there is still a TON of dead air while you wait for hundreds of diplomas to get conferred before your last-name-that-begins-with-W brother even stands up from his chair.
Thus, two years ago at the commencement of my cousin Kendall Boliba, was born “Graduation Cliche Bingo.”
It all began when my brothers and I were discussing, before the ceremony, the odds of somebody using one of my all-time least favorite inspiration speech cliches. (I’m glad you asked. Here they are. #1: Beginning your speech with “When I sat down to write this speech . . .”; #2: “Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘success’ as . . .”; and worst of all, #3: Any reference to Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.”) This evolved into us writing down a list of every single graduation cliche that was likely to occur during the ceremony and checking them off as they happened. Did a girl go up to get her diploma in inappropriately slutty shoes? Check. Did two dudes throw their hats directly at each other shuriken-style like they were trying to gouge each other’s eyes out? CHECK. Airhorn during the diplomas? CHECK AND MATE.
From this haphazard, Willett-family-crowdsourced list, scribbled on the pages of my commencement program using a pen I happened to have stuck at the bottom of my purse, was born perhaps my greatest contribution to society: GRADUATION CLICHE BINGO. Below is a link to a PDF of 25 printable bingo cards (fully randomized) with Central Catholic-specific cliches for you to check off as you go. Print them out, spread them far and wide, and definitely DO yell “BINGO!” super-loud right in the middle of the ceremony if you happen to get one. (Just kidding. Please don’t do that. I don’t want to incur the wrath of Sister Maureen.)
Go forth and conquer.