Dear central Minnesota Commencement Announcers,

Graduation is coming up and right now you're probably sweating bullets practicing those fun Minnesota names. It's a big job and one that many of us don't even think about.

It's a hard job and I don't envy you at all. In fact, your job is one that often times we all take for granted. We all criticize when you say the name wrong and we'll remember it forever (mainly because it's filmed for us to watch over and over again), and we never praise you when you say the name correctly. It's kind of thankless. (No pressure or anything)

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Listen, I work in radio and talk to people for a living all day long...but, reading graduation names would be MY living nightmare. It's a job I'd never tackle because I understand the pressure you must feel being on the spot, knowing that everyone is listening...and waiting to see if you butcher their name.

Seriously, it sounds just so awful. I know that most schools have developed systems to help you, students will tell you their name before they're about to walk. But, it's still hard. I've got the memory of a goldfish. It would go in one ear and out the other if it were a hard name to say.

I, for one have a really hard to pronounce maiden name. It's Gerdes (I'm sure you just read it wrong in your head). And, I've heard nearly ever kind of mispronunciation in the book. I'm used to it. So, when someone says my name correctly, I'm actually shocked.

I've got two sisters who are both ready to graduate college this year, and they're prepared for it too.

I just wanted to give you, the graduation announcer, a shout out and let you know that I see you and I understand what you're going through right now. It's a big job and someone has to do it. I'll be watching online, silently supporting you...even if you do get a name wrong here or happens and life goes on.

So, we thank you for the work you're about to do and the stress you're going through right now. You're the real graduation ceremony MVP!

Ashli (yeah, my first name is spelled weird too...blame my parents)


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