The graduation instructions we received from the school state in part: "In recent years the formality traditionally associated with commencement has been obscured and the ceremony has taken on a more frivolous nature--complete with cheering crowds, popping flash bulbs, and graduates strutting across the stage. To maintain over all decorum...the following suggestions are made."
"Photographs should be taken before or after the ceremony, not during. Professional photos will be taken during the ceremony and be available for purchase."
The Boy came home with the order sheet for photos. For 20.00 we can have the privilege of a picture of our child actually receiving his diploma. It will of course be copyrighted photo and therefore not legal to post anywhere.
Therefore there will be no photos appearing in this space or anywhere else of the supreme moment of the Boy actually crossing the stage and receiving his diploma.
"Do not cheer, whistle, yell or do anything to draw attention away from the graduates as they receive their diploma covers", and later "Please hold your applause till all graduates have been recognized."
I realize that in the eyes of many, graduation demonstrations have gotten out of hand. I might have thought so myself at one time, until I actually joined the struggle to get my kid through the last four years. The Boy attends an inner city school. Many kids that he started Freshman year with have dropped out. The pressures of teen parenthood, drugs and alcohol, truancy and family chaos are all around them. Many of his classmates have parents who themselves did not finish high school. Moreover his school has a large group of English as Second Language kids, immigrant children who have made huge adjustments in culture, language, and education and still completed the state graduation requirements. Although I am an applaud politely type, I think anyone who wants to yell or whistle when there kid finally makes it is totally entitled to. And every kid is entitled to a round of applause.
However, just to make sure we all behave, the children will only receive their diploma covers at the ceremony, the actual diplomas will be given to them afterward, and can be withheld in cases of inappropriate anything.
And then there are the contradictory instructions. On one page: "Boys should wear a white shirt and tie." The boy hasn't owned a white dress shirt since he was in the 7th grade choir. So we bought one, only to discover later, on a different page of the confusingly organized instructions: "Boys are to wear a light colored shirt, dark dress pants, and a tie." Not that a white dress shirt won't be of use to him as he enters the grown up world, but could someone proof read the instructions and make sure they match?
There are rehearsal instructions, ticket instructions, and ceremony instructions distributed randomly over 5 different pages. If a college graduate with a minor in English finds it hard to collate all this information, how the heck are first generation English speakers and high school dropouts supposed to make sense of it all?
I guess the point is this: This isn't merely a school event, it is a family event. It is something the grads and their parents and families have achieved together. For many of these kids it will be the supreme moment of their academic careers If you really want your perfect dignified ceremony, then close the doors, only let the grads in, and hand them each their diplomas is secret. Otherwise let it roll.