The 1974 human interest story that didn’t get reported in the Decatur, IL newspaper…..

Posted: August 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

HS Graduation night
In my blog post “Solitary Man…my introduction into show biz rejection” I discussed why my sister Judy and I went to different High Schools: “In the Fall of 1970 I was a Freshman at MacArthur High School in Decatur, IL! Because of my bad knees, I got special approval to attend MacArthur despite the fact that Arizona Drive was in the Stephen Decatur High School District! MacArthur was only 2 stories with a small elevator but SDHS was FOUR stories and no elevator!”
At the time in 1970, we had not even thought about the fact that Graduation night, four years later, might present a problem! My high school, MacArthur and Judy’s high school, Stephen Decatur, held graduation on the SAME NIGHT!!
So our family came up with a solution: Split the family up! Dad, our brother, Fred and his wife Cecelia would attend Judy’s ceremony and Mom, our sister Cheryl and her husband Rich would attend my ceremony.
Ironically, both Judy and I were among those students that sat up on the stage – not out on the basketball court floor of each gymnasium with the rest of our classmates. Judy had earned the honor by having such good grades as to make National Honor Society – all NHS students got to sit up on stage. Judy was #11 in her class!! We were so proud of her! She remembers being in the front row on stage and able to look directly across and see Dad, Fred and Celia up in the “nose bleed” section!
I was a “C” average student – yet I got to join MacArthur’s top students up on stage – of course because of music! Our Choir teacher, Ruth Helen Burlison, announced in choir there was one spot in the ceremony for a solo – I expressed my interest and told her I would audition for her. She was so nice and said I didn’t need to audition – that she just needed to know what song I had selected – but I insisted on auditioning. Maybe I wanted to end my high school experience with a successful audition as opposed to my freshman year fail? I chose John Denver’s, “Sunshine On My Shoulders”, which was popular at the time, to be the song I would sing. Another thing I enjoyed by being up on stage was getting to see all my friends receive their diplomas as they walked on by!
It was HOT that night – my sister Cheryl was 7 months pregnant with her first child and uncomfortable – I remember looking up and to the right seeing Mom, Cheryl and Rich a couple rows up in the upper section of bleachers!
Having that gown on I was really hot too! I played my 12 string guitar and about halfway through the song, one of the strings broke but I kept on going! Singing at graduation was one of my proudest moments yet when I have discussed this at class reunions over the years, no one seems to remember me singing! 🙂
The picture above of Judy and me with Mom and Dad might be confusing – MacArthur’s colors were Blue and White so one might think we graduated together. But, Judy’s school colors were RED and White. If you look closely, you can see Judy’s tassel is Red and White and mine is Blue and White! I wish I could have been there to see her big moment and I know she wishes she could have been to mine – she’s always been there cheering me on when I perform!!
Our family was a family of six distinctive personalities! Though we would go off separately exploring life’s possibilities, we would always rally together as one unit in good times and in times of trial! But that hot night in 1974, the Colvin family was split in two – a story very few in Decatur, Illinois were aware of, until now!
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  1. Mark Sellner says:

    You sang at our graduation? Huh.

  2. DaveColvinSongs says:

    I might have? If so, I don’t remember what the song was! 🙂

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