Alaska's "First Daughter" not only is now an official high school graduate, but wants to get into the real estate business later on. Kristan Cole better start looking over her shoulder.
On Thursday May 14th, 2009, despite navigating an unprecedented gauntlet of personal challenges and obstacles during the past nine months, to include a successful pregnancy, 18-year-old Bristol Palin walked across the stage in the Wasilla Sports Complex receive her high school diploma, as much a worried mom than a jubilant teen. "I knew it would be hard work, but I knew I was going to do it," said Bristol.
And this was hardly a pro forma event. She didn't exactly sneak in under the wire. Bristol Palin actually ended up with a 3.497 grade point average, a mere .003 short of graduating with honors. And more education may be in her future - Bristol says she hopes to go to an area college for a two-year business degree and then a job, possibly in real estate. Bristol also discussed the occasion on the Eddie Burke show. For once, she was on an interview program where she didn't have to worry about being misrepresented or tripped up; the real Bristol Palin was allowed to shine. Thanks to Conservatives4Palin, we have that interview on YouTube:
Governor Sarah Palin was present at the graduation, and said she had her doubts that Bristol would end up getting her diploma. Palin said, "...that's why I'm so proud of her … really relieved... . It's been a challenging and exciting year – her senior year – and I'm just so pleased that we are where we are today". Interesting to note that in the Mat-Su Frontiersman's story about the Wasilla graduation, Bristol Palin was not mentioned. I also could find absolutely no reference to Levi Johnston in any stories about the commencement or the associated comments, so it is likely that he was not present.
Unfortunately, no Palin event is ever free of controversy. And controversy struck just before the graduation when it was reported that Governor Palin had been "disinvited" from the event. This meant that not only could she not speak, but also not be allowed to stand up on the platform and shake the hands of the students. Apparently, a number of students wanted her to speak, since she is Wasilla High's most famous alumnus, but the administration put the kibosh on it. Muddying the situation further was the response by Wasilla Principal Dwight Probasco. When asked about it, he went into Andree McLeod mode and circled the wagons, merely saying, “I was not prepared for this call. I’m not ready to give a statement,” he said.
What a dumb-ass answer. People need to learn how to say "I don't know" without looking like fools. The best answer Probasco could have given was "I don't know, but I will find out and get back to you", and then follow up, of course. What is it these days with public officials hiding behind confidentiality? Too many people live in fear of lawyers; I'm beginning to like Shakespeare's attitude towards lawyers.
In the final analysis, although the students may have originally wanted Governor Palin to speak, it's questionable whether or not the school formally invited her in the first place. Tony Jensen, one of the two Wasilla High senior class advisers, contacted the Anchorage Daily News and gave his account of events HERE. So to say Governor Palin was "disinvited" may be misleading. But the Wasilla High Administration emerged from this little spat looking defensively opportunistic.
As for Governor Palin, she took the high road and directed her spokesperson Meg Stapleton to deliver the following response: "At the end of the day, the Governor is excited to sit back and enjoy this graduation with no pressure on the stage and in the spotlight. She will relish the moment with the family."
While all the Wasilla High graduates deserve congratulations for having completed this critical lifetime milestone, few had to deal with the unique pressures encountered by Bristol Palin.