May 5th. 6.40pm
We arrive at the school and find seats in the hall. All the seats are hooked together. Designed for smaller, school-children sized buttocks, not buttocks that have succumbed to middle-aged spread.
The ceremony will start at 7pm and will go on until... who knows? If it is run with the (dis)comfort factor of these chairs in mind, it will all be over by 7.15pm
We look through the programme and find our offsprings' names. Rogan is getting a prize for Graphic Communication and Meg is getting the "Grant Lewis" trophy, although we haven't managed to find out what it is being awarded for. Meg says she doesn't know, but she's excited about being awarded it.
They've still not started yet so I pull out my phone to put it on silent mode, but there's no signal anyway. I start deleting old text messages.
My buttocks are getting sore in these chairs. Will it never start? It must be running at least an hour late. I look at my watch.
I've only been sitting here 15 minutes? I don't think my buttocks are going to survive the evening.
Bagpipes start playing. We must be in Scotland. Or America. No, we're in Scotland - there aren't enough dazzlingly bright white teeth.
Talks by the Head Boy & Head Girl, the Headmaster's Address, Musical Interludes, and an Inspirational Talk by a footballer who once scored a goal against Rangers, have now been completed and the actual prize giving begins.
Meg goes up for her Grant Lewis Trophy. We still don't know what it's for.
Perhaps I should consider sponsoring an award trophy at the school. Good advertising. Get the name of my photography business mentioned in front of a captive audience.
Maggie asks what it could be awarded for. After a bit of thought I decide there ought to be an award for the most disruptive pupil who doesn't actually get suspended or expelled. To find, reach, and keep that fine line of causing maximum trouble without getting thrown out would require considerable skill, and ought to be recognised.
Rogan goes up to collect his award. I notice his hair is longer than all other boys here. I'm reminded that mine was when I was his age. Feel an additional pang of pride.
Bagpipes are playing and staff and guests are filing off the stage.
All is not quite over. Prize-receiving pupils are to have their photos taken for the local paper, and parents are to be offered a glass of wine or cup of tea.
I peel my buttocks off the seat and go in search of Mrs Lewis, sponsor of the Grant Lewis Trophy.
Find Mrs Lewis. She was a key support worker helping Meg's transition from primary to high school (as well as other children with additional support needs). She's retiring this year, and her son, Grant, also completes his time at Castle Douglas High School, so she decided to create the Grant Lewis Inclusion Trophy, aimed at highlighting the role of the Support Base for children with additional support needs going through mainstream education.
Because of Meg's efforts this year (see the highlights of her school report in the post, World Down Syndrome Day), she won the trophy.
We're very proud parents.
Meg with trophy
Rogan in the doorway, with hair