Middle school graduation meets Rascal Flatts

I was thirteen years old, finally about to graduate and go into the big, scary world of high school. My friends and I were spending all of our free time searching the mall for the perfect graduation dresses, and avoiding the last bit of what we considered school work at all costs – if only I had any idea at that age how easy I had it!

I had choir second period with all of my best friends, and it was time for Adam to announce the song we’d be singing at our graduation in a few weeks (yes, we called our teachers by their first names at OES middle school, and yes, I thought it was weird). He played it from his laptop first, and then started to teach us the words. “I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow / and each road leads you where you want to go”; my friends and I rolled our eyes at the cheesy lyrics as “My Wish” by the Rascal Flatts played through the speakers. None of us were very interested in learning the words to this silly song at the time, but by graduation day, we were all choking back tears as we sang in front of all of our teachers, friends and family.

Other than Taylor Swift, this was one of the very first country songs I learned every word to. My friends and I didn’t listen to much country and weren’t huge fans of the song at first, but we reluctantly spent the rest of the year learning each word and practicing until we sounded perfect.

I still remember standing up on the top riser in the chapel in my orange dress with white polka dots and matching white sweater (not my best outfit choice – find me in the middle of the second row pictured below). My heart was racing as Adam began to play the piano, not because I was afraid to sing but because I wasn’t ready to graduate. We started to sing while we looked out onto the audience at our families, realizing that this was the last day we’d all be together before going off to different high schools, even though we’d still live within 20 minutes of each other and our moms would still drive us to Washington Square Mall every weekend to spend our babysitting money on purses at Forever 21. Regardless, as we sang the song for the last time, the lyrics broke our little 13-year-old hearts as we started to think about whether or not our dreams would stay big, and our worries staying small. Everyone in the chapel applauded and we were given our diplomas, then released to go take all the pictures we could to document this heartbreaking moment.


Still today, whenever I hear “My Wish”, all of the memories of middle school and graduation day come flooding back, even though I hardly see any of the kids I went to school with back then anymore. Little did I know, one of the first country songs I knew by heart would bring back so many memories years later. As hard as that graduation was, I know my college graduation and going into the real world will probably be a bit more meaningful than that leap from middle school to high school.


Filed under Blog Post 4, Rascal Flatts

13 Responses to Middle school graduation meets Rascal Flatts

  1. Shira Yoram

    I loved reading about your 8th grade graduation experience. It reminded me of my own middle school ending. I wasn’t in choir, but I was in the dance company and our last performance was filled with tears too. I love that y’all ended up liking the Rascal Flatts song, because even though it may have sounded a bit cheesy at first, I think it was the perfect song for y’all to have sang for a graduation. I was a really big fan of Rascal Flatts back in those days. Although I don’t remember specifically listening to that song during the end of my middle school days, I have a feeling my friends and I did indeed play that song and sorrowfully sing along.

  2. Katerina Biancardi

    Oh my gosh this was so cute! You did an awesome job describing you experience in detail, and it made the reading the post that much more enjoyable to read. Also the picture was super adorable. It made me certainly try to remember my 8th grade graduation! It’s funny how when we were all younger, when things that we thought were lame or uncool, ended up being not so lame after all. not My friends and I were big Rascal Flatts fans back then, and now and again I still like to listen. I think he is having a tour this summer! Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Adrian Ortiz

    Great Post! It was very enjoyable to read. It actually reminded me of my 8th grade graduation. We had to do a performance in front teachers friends an family. Although it was not a country song that we performed, every time I listen to it, it takes me back to middle school; how great and easy school was at that time and it reminds me of a lot of friends that I had back then that I completely lost contact with. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great article Olivia! The lyrics to the song “my wish” are very fitting for something such as a graduation ceremony. I am sure it was difficult to take seriously as a middle schooler, after all the song is very cheesy. I would assume as you listened and practiced singing the song more and more it became more personal to you and your friends. I love how songs form memories in our heads, this is one of the reasons I love country music. I bet it is funny to turn on “my wish” and think of the long lost middle school days we are all glad are over now.

  5. Kevin Lefkowitz

    Rascall Flatts! This has been one of my favorite songs for so long I’m so glad you wrote this post. This song came on the radio while we were on the way home from our last middle school baseball tournament and everyone just stopped talking to listen. It was really a weirdly fulfilling experience and I can’t believe you had a similar time! Now, every time it comes on I stop and think about baseball and all the good times I had with my teammates. Y’all’s graduation must have really meant something for you to remember it so well after so long. Great post!

  6. Drew Scherger

    I agree that a cheesy song would fit in well with a middle school graduation and the emotions that go with it. The funny thing is that this actually reminds me of my high school graduation, because we didn’t actually have a ceremony in middle school because the School District in Dallas wanted to save money. Instead, we all went to a park for “Freshman Senior Round-Up” an old, school tradition where the incoming high school seniors basically throw a bunch of food at the incoming freshmen. It was actually a lot of fun even though it pretty much sounds like hazing.

  7. Julie Kleberg

    I really enjoyed this post because I love rascal flats. My wish has always been one of my favorite songs and it brings back so many memories for me too. I think it’s cool how we all have songs that take us back to old memories that are uniquely our own. I can definitely see how this would make you think of your middle schoool graduation. I don’t know why but when I think of my top middle school songs, Fly Away by TIm Mcgraw always comes to mind. Maybe because we used to play it on repeat or maybe because we thought we were growing up.. who knows. Great post overall!

  8. Tyler King

    Great article. Honestly I used to really like this song when I growing up as well just because it had a catchy tune. That’s funny how you would call your teachers by their first name because one of my friends’ mom taught at our school and all of his friends would call him mom by her first name and I thought it was so weird because she was a teacher at the school. Also, having a graduation for middle school seems like something only my school didn’t do because I’ve heard from so many people about doing that.

  9. Laura Morales

    I really enjoyed reading your post! It made me think back about my 8th grade graduation. My middle school made all of us read out statements of goals we wanted to accomplish throughout high school (it was kind of weird and really long to sit through). We would have to rehearse it every day before school would let out the last week of school, and although we all hated the practices, it was a bitter sweet moment when we were all saying it on stage for the last time! I remember it being so hard to process and think about what we were all going to do once we got to high school and after that! I can’t imagine what the thoughts and feelings will be like right before graduating from UT!

  10. I don’t know how often people write songs for weddings and graduation ceremonies, but they have to be happy when they become popular at these occasions. My high school graduation song was the Green Day one, “Time of Your Life,” but I think the Rascal Flatts one is slightly better. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Joseph Schooling

    I found your blog post really interesting! I’m a huge fan of Rascal Flatts and I’m happy to hear that they made your 8th grade graduation experience one to remember forever. I can’t really remember the music they played at my high school graduation. I don’t even know if they played any music at all haha. Although I wasn’t in the choir in middle school, I was in high school. A couple of the swimmers dragged me into that class and it was probably one of the more exciting classes I was in. We used to have 2 concerts a year and we’d have to dress up in our tuxedos and dance on stage in front of our families and friends. Most of us would just lip sing cause we either sounded really bad or forgot the words. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Brittney Haynes

    “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts was my senior graduation song. I will admit, while reading your post I cried, because it brought memories of my high school experience, and I can totally relate to your “not ready to graduate” feeling. This post didn’t just bring up past memories, but also future anxieties. After reading this post and listening to the song again, now you have me thinking, “will my dreams stay big, and my worries stay small,” as I begin the journey into actual adulthood. Wow! I have to go contemplate life now! Your post was super cute though and an enjoyable read. PS. I found your orange dress with white polka-dots in the picture. 🙂

  13. Lee Allen

    That is awesome how one song and one band can make your graduation so memorable, and I am sure it’s something you and your friends will never forget! I think it’s so cool that to this day the song still has an effect on you (and I’m sure everyone else involved as well). I’ve listened to Rascal Flatts since 6th grade, ever since my brother brought home a CD from their concert in Dallas, so this is really a flashback for me! I still have “My Wish” on about 4 of my playlists. It just goes to show what music, country music, can do.

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