Thursday, May 19, 2011
Graduation or Commencement
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?