We’re in the thick of the graduation season, celebrating in grand style the accomplishments of students everywhere.
And those graduation ceremonies are filled with traditions that make us proud — or make us want to run out the door screaming.
In that spirit, our TX. staff weighs in on the graduation traditions we’d like to keep and others we’d like to toss. Did your favorites or pet peeves make our list?
Get rid of these traditions
Jessica Wojciechowski, a senior at Clearfield High, says there are three traditions she could happily do without.
Different colored caps and gowns for men and women. I think that the segregation at graduation ceremonies is completely useless. There’s no reason to separate the men and women.
Officers graduating before the rest of the class. We’re all graduating with the same diploma; it’s pointless to have student government officers separated from the rest of the class.
Traditional orchestra music. The “Pomp and Circumstance” song just seems dated to me. I’d be perfectly fine graduating to some pump-it-up music!
McKenzie Leininger, a Bonneville High junior, cast her vote for getting rid of a longstanding tradition.
Graduation speeches. They’re long, usually boring and perhaps somewhat inspiring — but mostly just rather meaningless. Like Pinterest quotes. I mean, how many people recall a single word once they leave the building? It’s probably too much to ask that we get rid of them entirely, but how about 10-minute speeches? That would be wonderful.
Keep these traditions
Senior Sierra Clark of Venture High says there are several traditions she thinks are meaningful.
Senior breakfast. Our school has graduation on the last day of school, so in between the yearbook signing and all the shenanigans of graduation itself, the parents of Venture High create a last meal for the seniors and staff. Obviously, I haven’t been a part of it yet, but I think it’s a great idea to convene with all these people you’ve spent the last four years with as a final hurrah.
Senior yearbook signing. Before the final day of school, the seniors get to have a social night to sign each other’s yearbooks. Since you will want to write the most when you face the prospect of leaving, I think it makes sense to set aside a specific time for the seniors. Then, you can say all the things you want to say to your friends at the end of an era.
Destination Honors. Venture High has about 10 values that the school wants its students to strive for, so you have the chance to achieve a “Destination Honor” for things like excellence, adventure, family, etc. Basically you make a goal or reflect on something where you exemplified that value. At graduation, seniors are recognized for destinations they have achieved. I love the idea because it encourages us to reach for excellence and really reflect on what we’ve done and become in school.
For Taylor Jenkins, a junior at Weber High, the tradition to keep revolves around just having fun.
Senior Sluff Day. This unofficial day is a graduation tradition I’d like to keep. I think it’s just a fun thing that unites all the seniors together, and it’d be nice to come to school and have half the parking lot empty because the seniors are gone. Usually, this day happens a week or so before graduation, and it’s completely open to all seniors whether they attend or not. I’d like to attend it too next year, so I hope it stays!
Leininger wants to keep some of the most traditional symbols of graduation.
Caps and gowns and cords and such. This mostly applies to university graduations, but easily the best part of the ceremony is looking at all the cool colors and combinations of ribbons and robes.
And finally, Wojciechowski shares five traditions she believes keep the graduation ceremony interesting.
Best dress. When I think of graduation, I think of its formality. I don’t think people should be wearing pajamas when they’re graduating.
Student speakers. I think having students speak at graduation makes it more specific to the school’s graduating class.
The tassel tradition. Moving the tassel from right to left after receiving your diploma is simply a classic. We can’t get rid of it!
Graduation cords. My school got rid of graduation cords this year and instead we’re using pins. I don’t like it because the cords are much more noticeable and make students feel more validated for the work they put in. A pin simply just doesn’t do that.
Valedictorians and salutatorians. Usually, the students awarded with these distinctions have well earned it. Switching to other designations to include more students rarely takes into account hard work in GPAs, ACT scores and extracurricular activities. The students who worked for it should get the honor.