High school graduation is one of the most bittersweet moments in our lives. While graduation marks the end high school and of having to live with mom and dad, it also tends to entail leaving friends behind and starting a new chapter of our lives which may be terrifying. Some cannot wait to embark on their new journey and others would rather stay. Either way, graduation tends to be an emotional experience. Sometimes these emotions cause students to do things good and bad which they would not typically have the courage to do. Enter Chuck Shriner.
Chuck Shriner, a seventeen year old high school senior decided to “Tebow” onstage during his graduation. For those who don’t know what “Tebowing” is, it is a pose in which a person drops to the ground on one knee for a moment in prayer. The practice of “Tebowing” was named after New York Jets Quarterback Tim Tebow, who along with this hilarious Saturday Night Live sketch popularized it. Upon hearing his name called at graduation, Shriner, a football player for the school (Fort Meyers Catholic) “Tebowed” at the knees of the school principal and in front of an entire gymnasium of parents, students and faculty.
A roar of applause from Shriner’s awed fellow students erupted in the gymnasium. Nevertheless the faculty, particularly Principal John Cavelli were unimpressed. The administration withheld Shriner’s diploma from him. Shriner’s punishment, having to clean the school gym after graduation, was devised by his mother who happens to teach at the school. “She was really mad”, admitted Shriner. “But I think it was worth it”. The school administration held Shriner’s diploma until the following Saturday, when they allowed Shriner’s mother to pick it up.
Shriner’s decision to Tebow was not an act of defiance or disrespect, but rather the result of a good-natured dare. The prize for the dare? A cool, crisp five dollar bill offered by a few friends of Shriner’s. “Yeah, they dared me,” said Shriner. “But I would have done it for free”.
The “Tebow” pose was Shriner’s attempt at getting a few laughs out of his classmates, as well as a memory he will never forget. To put it in his own words, he was just “trying to make graduation memorable”. He succeeded in grand fashion, bringing laughter to his peers and national attention to himself, his principal and his school. As a high school student who will be graduating next year, I can only hope someone will have the guts to pull off something a stunt like Shriner’s at my graduation.
As witty, hilarious, and original as Shriner’s pose was, the school was right in punishing him. They made an example out of him in order to discourage underclassmen from pulling something similar in future years. Not only was the cause for punishment justifiable, but the type of punishment was fair and appropriate. They held his diploma for less than a week, and made him clean up the school gym. Overall, not a big deal. The administration did a great job disciplining Shriner without going over the top. In the end, the school got to send a message to its underclassmen, Shriner got his memory, and Tim Tebow got even more undeserved publicity…everybody wins!