I like these watershed episodes. Everybody seems to try just that little bit harder: the writers, the cast, the directors and the producers. They are also packed with recurring characters - this one features Ike, Emily, Mamie, Marcia, Matthew, Rosemary and Flossie. Take them and the Waltons away and the graduation would have had about ten guests!
The main plot sees John-boy whisked off to Charlottesville to get kitted out for college. Unfortunately, the family milk cow dies and he ends up returning his clothes to the shop for a refund - a decision he will rue in 'The First Day'. Thankfully, the family is on hand to whip him up a new suit in time for his big day. There is also something of a sideshow going on between John-boy and Marcia. For the first and only time in the series, there actually does seem to be some chemistry between them. Their parting scene is quite touching.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing John-boy get kitted out. The new togs looked great! Made me laugh that they altered one of Zeb's suits to replace them. They could have made a pair of curtains from all the cloth they must have cut off! I'll miss those knee-length trousers though.
John-boy is, of course, his class valedictorian. His speech is quite moving, and compares well to the equivalent scene in Spencer's Mountain. To him, at least, the world just got a whole lot bigger.
Leaving school does seem to be a really big thing in America. Here in the UK, we just finish our exams and sod off. I'd love to have had a graduation like this. That said, we did have a graduation at university and I didn't go to it. I knew I should have gone to Boatwright!