Writing Elves is taking a break this week. So guest blogger Matthew Silkin has stepped in to fill the void. Here’s his take on graduating high school – and graduations in general. Leave comments for him below. Follow him on twitter @supertoasty613
See you next week!
If you think about it, graduation is quite possibly the dumbest part of high school. Four years of education, for what? A piece of paper that lets you go to school for four more years, and then another, more valuable piece of paper.
And then there is the stigma of not graduating. Getting a GED and finishing early instead of walking in a cap and gown with the rest of your peers to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance labels you a “dropout” and makes you somewhat outcast from society. Why would anyone want to do that to themselves?
This has been troubling me for the past few weeks since class let out for us seniors. I would find myself waking up every morning and saying to myself, “Holy [expletive]. I’m about to finish high school forever.” Four years of friendships made and broken, information passed from teacher to student, and clubs formed and disintegrated, all for a piece of paper and a handshake with the head of school.
Oh, and an impressive-leather-bound-book. With an equally impressive title.
But today, looking at the cap and gown hanging in my bedroom, I had an epiphany. What if graduation wasn’t for students? What if schools held graduation ceremonies, but the actual graduates were only a front for the real target of graduation?
Now everything makes sense.
Schools hold graduation for the parents who want a picture with their relieved senior. For the parents who want to reminisce to their own graduation. For the parents’ proud feelings when they see their beloved child finally become a child no more.
I thought about graduation some more, and came to another realization: it’s for the teachers too. I mean, if the parents are proud, surely the teachers, who are paid to help these kids get to where they are, should give themselves a pat on the back for doing their jobs.
A little more thinking led me to yet another realization: it’s also for the administrators. I mean, they’re the ones who are bossing around the teachers, making sure that these kids got to graduation. They should be proud of themselves too.
I probably would have come to one more realization, but I think my point had been made abundantly clear.
If graduation was for the students, the school would have a nice quiet affair where they give you a tassel and a diploma and waved you off. But it’s not just for the students. It’s for everyone who helped the students get to that point in their lives where they could hold the diploma in their hands and feel that they accomplished something.
In a sense, when the class of 2014 graduates, everyone graduates, in some form or another. Everyone is proud of everyone else’s accomplishments. Everyone is looking forward to what the class of 2014 will accomplish in the coming years.
Only the students are the only ones with the diplomas.
And the impressive-leather-bound-books.