It’s that season: time for all the end-of-year banquets and awards ceremonies. Tonight, over at the Valley Regency in Clifton, the best and the brightest of Glen Ridge High School — grade-wise, anyway — were feted by the Rotarians at the 46th Annual Recognition Dinner for High Honor Students of Glen Ridge High School.
For reasons we don’t quite understand, parents are invited to these events but then not allowed to sit with their kids. For the Barista, walking into that great big banquet hall induced acid flashbacks painful memories of standing in the school lunchroom, holding a tray and looking desperately around for somewhere to sit. We mastered the challenge with acceptable alacrity, and even managed to have a pleasant evening of it.

The Barista wasn’t going to write about this event at all, but then the dinner speaker, Dr. Tom Benedictsson, who teaches something or other humanities-related at Montclair State, lobbed some great big softballs at us. Since we weren’t taking notes, we have to paraphrase, but our dinner companions helped us reconstruct Dr. Benedictsson’s remarks.
In our materialistic society, he said, honor may be measured by what you purchase. And it’s more honorable to buy a car that gets 40 miles to the gallon than one that gets only 17 miles to the gallon — even if you can afford the extra $25 to fill up your tank. Just to make sure everybody got the point, he added that honor is also picking the college you really fit into, rather than one whose decal would look good on your SUV as you cruise down Ridgewood Ave. polluting the air and contributing to global warming.
We half-expected Dr. Benedictsson to complain that the dinner was held a whopping 7.65 miles away from the center of town, and chide us for not all carpooling.
Eyebrows were raised. Then the students were called up one by one to thunderous applause, Atkins-busting apple-tart-a-la-mode was served, everybody offered congratulations to everybody else for having such bright children and vehicles both honorable and less so made a left onto Valley and returned home.

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