High school graduation is a big event in a child’s life.
Graduating high school means the student has successfully completed all courses required to achieve a high school diploma, whether it is after 12 years or another number of years in attendance.
It also means they are now eligible to go to college, join the military or just go to work. Most employers now require a high school diploma or an equivalent.
It is a big deal to the children who have accomplished it.
They have weathered all of the drama that came their way during high school. Surviving all of their insecurities about themselves is a tremendous personal achievement.
Students who are graduating now get a chance to move on and discover who they are as a person and figure out what they believe as individuals. They will choose a career, make personal commitments or continue their education for larger objectives.
Either way, they have completed a very important goal in their life.
Having a child graduate high school is also a very emotional time for parents. The feelings you experience are just as profound as the ones you experienced the day you took them to their first class room way back in the first grade. There is also a great sense of pride as they enter the next phase of their life.
I recently attended a high school graduation and was very disappointed by the behavior of some people who were in attendance.
The yelling and whistling and whooping it up when names were called was so disruptive. Some names of the graduates being honored were lost in the noise.
School administrators asked the audience to behave at the beginning of the commencement ceremony and to please withhold the applause until all graduates had been recognized.
Apparently that fell on deaf ears of some participants.
Enthusiasm at this big event is understandable but family members need to be reminded of proper etiquette for this important ceremony.
Students were given standards for behavior and attire. This should have been a clue to family members about the solemnity of the occasion.
Unfortunately, we are all aware that manners aren’t what they used to be.
Schools make rules for graduation for a reason. They want to emphasize the importance of commencement but also make sure the event runs smoothly and quickly.
Graduation ceremonies belong to the institution which is sponsoring them. They are entitled to some respect.
Some schools won’t even admit guests who arrive late and require them to watch the event on a large screen elsewhere.
Others have dress codes for the attendees as well as the students participating. I’m guessing sleeveless camouflage t-shirts were not on that list.
It is my understanding that students at the graduation I attended were told that diplomas could be withheld if audience members were disruptive. But that didn’t stop them.
One school in Ohio withheld diplomas for some students because of disruptive cheering by their families during the graduation ceremony. The students were required to complete 20 hours of community service as punishment.
The Ohio school says they are very flexible about how students can complete the service. Family members can even perform the service on the student’s behalf. And they should have to do just that!
Graduation ceremonies are designed to be a somber affair.
This is a dignified event intended to honor the graduates for their hard work. Commencement audiences should behave like guests in someone else’s home.
Being part of a graduation ceremony is not a right, it is a privilege. And each student deserves their time in the spotlight.
The school’s goal is to provide a commencement event that will remain with graduating seniors and their families as a positive experience.
Parents need to learn to follow and respect the rules of the school in order for it to be a special time for all those attending.
There is a time and place for everything. Cheering, shout-outs and whistling are acceptable at sporting activities but not at such a significant occasion in a child’s life. It is rude and disrespectful to other students and their parents to exhibit such behavior.
If a school has rules and guidelines regarding conduct by attendees at graduation, we should all abide by them.
The students receiving honors, the faculty and the rest of the parents deserve it.