What does graduation mean to students?
The commencement ceremony, also known as graduation, marks the end of high school education and serves as a turning point for students, parents, and teachers. It is a time for teachers, parents, and students to honour their efforts and successes. Parents, teachers, and school officials celebrate their children’s successes, and students are proud to have completed the graduation standards set by their state and local boards of education. Commencement exercises provide a point of transition for the many graduating class members who will take different routes into futures that might include higher education, the military, and the workforce.
With the distribution of a diploma, the commencement ceremony’s goal is to recognise the students who have completed the criteria for high school graduation. State-by-state and within-a-state school district-by-school district variations exist in graduation requirements. The accountability movement of the 1990s led to stricter graduation standards for high schools and the development of state exams that students must pass to receive a traditional diploma. States have developed a variety of certifications in response to calls for high school graduates to demonstrate the language and math abilities necessary for success in further education and the workforce. Differentiated diplomas and certificates have taken the role of the standard certification that was initially given to every student who took part in commencement exercises in several states. The new diplomas include:
- The conventional diploma.
- Diplomas for exceptional students who cannot complete all graduation criteria due to a disability.
- Attend certificates for students who attended classes but did not complete all graduation requirements.
High schools try to identify the knowledge and skills of students who have finished studying by doing away with the traditional diploma and replacing it with prizes that distinguish between students based on their success.
In most cases, the commencement ceremony is held in the institution’s football stadium, gym, or auditorium. Before the ceremony starts, parents, friends, and teachers are often seated in designated areas. The graduates are usually given special seating between the stage and the audience, while school authorities are gathered on a platform in front of the visitors. The school band or the public address system play music as the graduates enter the arena at the designated moment. Students may wear matching hats and gowns, and others may wear distinctive insignia signifying membership in honor groups or other noteworthy achievements. Typically, the valedictorian, senior class president, and guest speaker deliver addresses at the event. The programme may feature instrumental or choral music. The graduation ceremony includes the awarding of diplomas and certificates as well as the presentation of graduates. The principal frequently summons students to the stage to present them with their certificates.
In certain schools, programme management is the students’ duty. During these commencement ceremonies, students may speak briefly about their coursework, highlight their achievements, or perform a short play that dramatizes a particular school moment. They might also acknowledge honor roll kids or students who have made remarkable achievements. Before the ceremony, the graduating programme may include weeklong performances and student work exhibits.
The final two decades of the twentieth century presented various difficulties for those in charge of planning commencements. Finding a venue big enough to hold the relatives and friends of graduates who wished to attend the celebration was one of these difficulties. If there is a football stadium, schools frequently use it. If the weather does not permit an outdoor ceremony, this choice often solves one issue while creating another. Since commencement ceremonies usually occur in the spring, bad weather like rain or lightning could make the event indoors. The number of parents and visitors who can attend may be restricted if the event must be held indoors due to bad weather.
Graduate behaviour during commencement is another possible issue for school administrators. Some graduates decide to celebrate by pulling minor pranks on the principal during the diploma presentation or by throwing a beach ball around during the remarks. Students can also add decorations or a message to their caps. Teachers who think commencement should be a formal event have tried a variety of tactics to stop practical jokes and have had various degrees of success.
The constitutional relationship between public schools and religion was determined by several decisions made by American courts in the second half of the 20th century. None of those decisions specifically addressed whether or not prayer at public school graduations is constitutional. However, the verdicts restricted official school-initiated prayer in the classroom and at school events like football games. Before these decisions, it was customary for schools to request a local clergyperson to lead a blessing during the commencement ceremony. Some high schools are happy to let students pray if they choose to, while others specifically restrict begging by presenters as they wait for the US Supreme Court’s decision on prayer at commencement.
Some elementary and intermediate schools hold annual graduation ceremonies to round off the academic year. These ceremonies frequently feature the awarding of prizes and the celebration of academic success. They exclude the handing out of diplomas. Ceremonies held in elementary and middle schools that resemble high school commencements have drawn criticism for being unsuitable for pupils who might be enticed to quit school before they finish high school.