The 8th grade class with which I graduated in 1998 was given a choice for soundtracking its graduation ceremony: stay within tradition or go rogue. For 30+ years my Southern California middle school played “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds as their 8th-graders symbolically left the nest for high school hallways and beyond. After extolling the virtues of taking our place within the rank and file of students that had come before us and were to follow, senior faculty members added an aside that we could, if we chose to break with tradition, select a contemporary song by which to remember that year of change. We were then allowed to vote.
Understanding what it meant to the faculty, some of whom were alumni of that very school, our class overwhelmingly voted for “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day and instantly incurred the disappointed wrath of our home room history teacher. For what it’s worth, we didn’t mean to disappoint; we were just too young to want what others wanted for us just because they wanted it. Generation X, Y, Me to the core.