by Sharlene Irete

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June 18, 2007
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Shoes an important decision for graduation

It was decades before they were knighted, but when I graduated from high school, Sir Paul and Sir Elton were singing "Band on the Run" and "Crocodile Rock." The motto for my Western High School class of 1974 was from the popular book, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull."

"No bird soars as high as when it soars on its own wings," sticks with me, but the only other thing I remember about my graduation ceremony was my choice of shoes.

In a sea of Columbia blue caps and gowns, I felt I stood out in my white patent leather platforms that added an impressive 4 inches to my usual 5-foot 2 1/2.

Shoes then were made without the benefits of lighter man-made materials so platforms made us walk like brides of Frankenstein. But I looked so cool in those crazy tall shoes.

At their graduation on the practice field Friday night, the Douglas High School class of 2007 wore black gowns, and while some had award sashes and honor cords that provided splashes of color, the graduates truly showed their individuality in their choice of footgear.

Just like people, shoes come in sensible and not-so-sensible styles. I'm sure when I was 18 I wasn't being sensible when I chose to wear platform shoes - I had only fashion in mind.

The 2007 graduates were thinking fashion and not how hard it would be to navigate steps in 6-inch espadrilles.

How could they have known that spike heels would be better for aerating turf than propelling you gracefully to accept your diploma in front of hundreds of family members and friends?

But they were resplendent with ankle bracelets, tattooed insteps, toe rings, blingy slings, cheeky T-straps, pumps, wedgies, ballet slippers of silver and gold and bejeweled flip-flops showing off painted toes.

A lot of the boys looked like they had just sprung for new shoes that might not be worn again until to a best friend's wedding, a few years from now.

There was every color of the rainbow from hot pink socks to really red shoes, from the whitest white, to the shiniest black patent leather. Shoes were made of suede, jute, leather and plastic. Two students wore protective walking boots to graduation.

Shoes momentarily forgotten, every graduate beamed as they came down the steps of the stage, diploma case in hand.

There was one graduate whose ensemble caught my eye as he came down the steps, maybe because his shoes, pants and the collar of his shirt all were the same Columbia blue color as the gown I wore at graduation 33 years ago.

It made me think that decades in the future that boy might not remember too much more about June 15, 2007, except that he wore those cool blue shoes to his graduation.

-- Sharlene Irete is a staff writer at The Record-Courier and a graduate of Western High School in Las Vegas.

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The Record Courier Updated Jun 21, 2007 09:42PM Published Jun 18, 2007 03:00AM Copyright 2007 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.