There wasn't a dry eye in the stadium _ or a dry anything else, for that matter _ as history was made at Dunedin High School's graduation ceremony Thursday night. Thanks to the rain, the school saw what some said was its shortest ceremony ever, and most graduates did not get to hear their names announced.
A light drizzle began as the graduates filed into the stadium to Pomp and Circumstance played by the school band. By the time all the students had taken their positions on the field, the drizzle had turned into a downpour.
After a moment of hesitation, principal John McLay announced: "We're gonna go!"
The Star-Spangled Banner was still sung, and the Student Council president still gave her speech. The rain finally abated somewhat as guest speaker Kelly Ring of WTVT-Ch. 13 took the stage.
"Never be afraid to dream," she told the graduates. "If you can dream it, you can do it. You can accomplish anything you want. . . . The rainy sky's the limit."
When the roll call of graduates was about to start, the downpour began once again. After about five minutes of calling out the graduates' names in the traditional fashion, McClay made another announcement: "We're going to ask you to report to the gymnasium for your diplomas. Congratulations."
The 339 soaked and shivering graduates rushed to the gym to accept their diplomas. They hugged and screamed and laughed and posed for cameras. Some played with a beach ball; some walked around barefoot. Then they hurried out of the gym and into their futures.
_ LAURA T. COFFEY