Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Graduation or Commencement

Graduation or commencement? That is the question.

Today at my school we are having 5th grade graduation.  It is all around us--the  excited eager faces of the students as they prepare for the ceremony; girls nervously hugging each other and anyone else in their paths,  the guys trying to look cool and calm in their dress shirts and ties. This is the scene that is played out all across America this time of year.

At our school relatives come in from distant states as well as from within the neighborhood to support the students.  The success of the graduates is celebrated with an awards program.  Of course, there are the usual speeches but the highlight of the day is the slide show of the students' pictures and the "shout-outs" that each student gives to the people  who have been a positive force in their life.  This is usually very touching and often very, very comical!   The baby pictures are always wonderful (even if the teacher who produces the slide show has to get creative sometimes).

We call this ceremony a graduation.  Later when these same students finish the 12th grade they will participate in another ceremony that will be called commencement.  It will basically be the same ceremony: march in, sit through speeches, get awards and diplomas, be embarrassed by relatives. 

What do you think makes some of these ceremonies graduations and some of them commencements?


  1. I didn't know there was a difference.

  2. Actually Jean there is. Graduation is the award or acceptance of a degree and commencement is the ceremony conferring the degree. I guess being in the fifth grade they don't get a diploma. I suppose they are just moving forward to new things - exciting things like middle school. I know you will miss them Stephanie!

  3. That always confused me -- "commencement" seems like you'd be beginning something, not ending it. Unless you are about to commence upon the rest of your life...

  4. I've always just heard it called graduation. I wonder if it's a regional thing. But back to your 5th graders. I love the idea of the slide show and the shout outs. Helping a child should warrant public mention.


  5. To be honest, I never really thought about it. As long as I walked away with the diploma or degree I was expecting, I didn't really care if they called it graduation or commencement.

    Have fun Stephanie! What you experience today is a moment most marvelous and magical for all involved. And relief! Let's not forget the relief everyone will feel.

  6. Well, it has been an exciting and emotional morning here at school!

    Jean-I never understood if there was a difference either or if someone just named it.

    Cheryl-Thanks so much for clearing up the confusion and you are correct they don't recieve a diploma they get a certificate. You are correct I will miss them.

    Kimberly-You are right about the starting the rest of their lives. You would think they are going to China to be missionaries the way they talk about going to the middle school that is 2 miles from our school. :-)

    PM-The shout-outs are always sweet. It is always nice to hear that you make a difference! This year someone's favorite memory of school was when I broke up a fight by spreading a kid's legs and putting HER cheek into the corner! You just never a dull moment here!

    Crystal-Relief, yes, relief is a key emotion!

  7. Stephanie, it must be an amazing honor to get to see your kids graduate every year. I'm sure you've made an undeniable and unforgetable impression on each and every one of your students. Teachers have the best jobs! ;)