The graduating seniors from the class of 2023 are set to take the stage and receive their diplomas this Friday night, May 26, in Fountain Park. It’s an event over a decade in the making, full of ups and downs, good times and bad, cramming for tests, taking part in extracurricular activities, countless homework assignments, dances, sporting events and so, so much more.
I’d share some words of wisdom here, but I have been honored to be invited to speak at this year’s graduation commencement ceremony, so I figure I better save whatever knowledge I have to impart for the big night.
Instead, I’m going to use this opportunity to carry out an annual tradition and take a quick stroll down memory lane. Most of this year’s graduates attended their first day of kindergarten in 2010, so let’s take a gander at what the world looked like back then.
A whopping 13 years ago, the movie to receive the Academy Award for Best Picture was “The Hurt Locker,” though it’s unlikely that nerve-shredding war epic garnered the attention of many kindergarteners. Instead, it’s more likely they were glued to the top-grossing picture of the year, “Toy Story 3.” It was a big year at the box office for kid-friendly fare, with other top performers including “Despicable Me,” “Megamind,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Shrek Forever After” and “Tangled.”
Big TV shows for kids back in 2010 included “Team Umizoomi” and “Octonauts” and, in the music department, Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” headed the charts alongside “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train and “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga.
While the top video games of 2010 included “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” “Mass Effect 2” and “Red Dead Redemption,” it’s more likely this year’s group of grads enjoyed “Super Mario Galaxy 2” on the Nintendo Wii.
For the sports fans in the audience, the Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver in 2010. And in sports you actually care about, the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl over the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 31-17.
The World Cup was held in South Africa that year, which was won by Spain. You may recall 2010 was the year vuvuzelas were played loud and proud at pretty much every World Cup match.
The Lakers won their 16th NBA championship in 2010 and, heading over to baseball, the San Francisco Giants bested the Texas Rangers four games to one in the World Series.
While members of the class of 2023 were freshmen at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, their first year in school saw the swine flu scare come to a close. It was the first influenza pandemic in over 40 years. That was also the year the BP oil spill became the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
While folks might take their iPads for granted these days, the first model was actually introduced in 2010. That was also the year the final book in the Hunger Games series was released, “Mocking Jay.”
Circling back to entertainment, 2010 was the year the series finale of “Lost” aired.
If you have a distant memory of Lady Gaga setting the fashion world on fire by wearing a dress made entirely out of meat, that event took place during the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.
For fans of the band One Direction, those lads got their start in 2010 when they appeared on “The X-Factor.” Ariana Grande also strolled onto the scene that year, getting her big break as a character in the Nickelodeon show, “Victorious.”
Finally, Time Magazine named Mark Zuckerberg Person of the Year in 2010. He’s famous for giving the world Facebook, a social media app none of this year’s graduates likely use, but their parents and grandparents are mighty fond of it.
Okay, now that we’ve visited the past, it’s time to focus on the future. Lead the way, class of 2023!