Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange => Topic started by: Saffy on May 18, 2012, 07:29:41 AM

Title: High School Graduation
Post by: Saffy on May 18, 2012, 07:29:41 AM
Hi everyone!

I was just reading a thread in Life in General about how much money to give for a high school graduation, and was surprised to see everybody suggesting sums instead of questioning giving money in the first place. I'm pretty sure this is a cultural thing.

I grew up in New Zealand but now live in North America. In New Zealand (at least when I was there) there was no such thing as a high school graduation. Usually the students held a party, but that was organized by them, not the school. Nobody gives gifts, or even really congratulates you. I think it's just not considered a big deal; it's just something you're expected to do, rather than being an achievement. Even when I finished university, I got a couple of small gifts and a family dinner, but that was it (again, it's just something you're expected to do).

So obviously North America is different. What about other countries? Is it all of North America, or just parts?

I just thought about it, and I come from a family that's not easily impressed. Some of this may be my personal experience talking (but I maintain that graduation ceremonies for kindergarteners is silly!)  ;)
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: cabbagegirl28 on May 18, 2012, 10:35:34 AM
I've gone through 3 graduation ceremonies so far: 5th grade (11 years), 8th grade (14 years) and high school (18 years). violinp's and my parents had a family party for us, and we got nice gifts, but that was it for the party stuff. I remember that I had a lot of cords and a medal for graduating magna cum laude (I think) for my high school graduation ceremony.

At least for my high school, not everybody went on to college or trade school, so this was the only real ceremony they got for graduating. Also, not everyone in my original 9th grade class graduated with us, I don't think, and I'm not counting people who moved away. So it was sort of a "You worked really hard, and you've managed to graduate!" Never mind that our high school's level of coursework, even on the AP level, was not that hard, but oh well.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Sophia on May 18, 2012, 10:50:00 AM
I don't get the idea of a graduation before H.S. 

But, I think in America it is really a "You are now an adult" thing rather than a "Graduation" thing.  There seems to be an engrained need to celebrate entering adulthood.  There are other celebrations for subgroups, but the H.S. Graduation seems to be the generic American version.

In America, theoretically, everyone gets the same education that takes 12 years.  So, you graduate when you are 17 or 18-years-old.  18-years-old is when you are considered an adult for everything except alcohol.  Generally speaking, after H.S. you are expected to move out of your parent's house and either work or go to college. 

p.s. I am the one that started the other thread.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Judah on May 18, 2012, 11:20:48 AM
I think the reason for the celebration is not so much that graduating high school is a great accomplishment but, that it's milestone and right of passage.  Plus, in my family, we turn everything into a celebration.  ;D
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: NyaChan on May 18, 2012, 11:54:08 AM
Honestly, my parents didn't think HS graduation was that big of a deal.  In their eyes, to graduate was expected and the true goal/celebratory event would be when I finished a grad school, med school, or law school.  In fact, it was only when they saw I was actually upset and that my friends'  families were all treating it like a big deal (fancy restaurant/relatives coming in for ceremony) that they even took me out to dinner after the ceremony. 

They did have an open house for me later that month, but it was more of a "we haven't had hosted everyone for a while," and primarily it was to even out the fact that they had a MASSIVE formal graduation party for my older sister that doubled as a family reunion and celebrated the only time my grandmother was well enough to visit us before she passed away.  I figure, I got to have cake from the awesome local bakery and I didn't have to be the center of attention for an extended period of time, so yay!
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: violinp on May 18, 2012, 11:54:45 AM
I think the reason for the celebration is not so much that graduating high school is a great accomplishment but, that it's milestone and right of passage.  Plus, in my family, we turn everything into a celebration.  ;D

POD.  ;D
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Horace on May 18, 2012, 04:27:15 PM
I'm in England and high school graduation isn't a big deal here either.  A lot of schools have been having proms over the last few years to celebrate kids finishing their GCSEs (end of high school exams).  The only graduation that happens in England is when you get a degree and then later a Masters or PGCE.  It's also not expected of people to give gifts either - I got a charm for my bracelet from my godparents and my grandparents paid to hire my cap and gown.  Honestly, I would find it weird if people had given me presents for doing something I chose to do.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: QueenfaninCA on May 18, 2012, 04:46:22 PM
Being from Germany I also don't really get what the big deal with all the different graduations is. Heck, some of my colleagues' kids had graduations from pre-school.

After high-school we had a short ceremony at school with the principal making a short speech and a handful of students being awarded something (88 graduates, smallest class the school ever had). Then eac hof the ix classes in my year went to a separate classroom with their home-room teacher where we got our diplomas. Catered short reception (catered by parents) was optional, my class did it. Two days later we had a big BBQ party in the evening. Presents, if any where only from parents and grandparents.

College: When I got my diploma, I got the certificate by mail. No ceremony, nothing. When I got my PhD, right after the defense there was a small reception in a conference room catered by my parents with my research group, the professors on my panel and possibly a couple of friends and family in attendance. In the evening my parents took me and my almost-fiance (we got engaged ten days later) out to dinner to a nice restaurant. And I got some beautiful jewelry from my parents and grandparents (not necessarily typical). That was it.

All that is pretty typical for Germany.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: #borecore on May 18, 2012, 04:52:22 PM
My American parents had a small backyard party for neighbors and visiting relatives -- two of my aunts and their kids, and both sets of grandparents, came from across the country -- and my school had a (common around here) lock-in the night of the ceremony at a large arcade, which I found pretty dull.

I got gifts from all of my family and most of my parents' close friends (there aren't tons of them, but the ones there are have known me my whole life).

Frankly, I could have done without most of it at the time, but it is now a really nice memory. The last family gathering before my parents split up for good and my dad's parents died, plus lots of love and positive attention, which I don't seek but do appreciate when it seeks me out.

My college graduation, which I was more proud of achieving (high school was absolutely expected of me), was awful. Fighting family, too much driving, felt like no one was there for me but only to carry out their duty to the family. It was a mess of a weekend. Fewer gifts then, too. But I expected that!

If I decide to go to law school, I'm just going to skip the whole rigamarole.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: jedikaiti on May 18, 2012, 05:07:32 PM
When I was a kid, there was (I think) a kindergarten graduation (I don't remember), and then I had one for high school. Now I'm seeing people post on FB about pre-K graduation, kindergarten graduation, junior high graduation, and high school graduation. All I think is "are you kidding me? If you just manage to survive and not drop out by the time you start high school, that's worthy of a big fuss?" I don't get it.

I think we had an open house for my high school graduation, and I went out with my friends for pizza. For college, my family & some friends came in from out of town, and we all went for brunch after the ceremony. The second time I graduated college, I breathed a sigh of relief and skipped even the ceremony. :-)

As for $ for HS graduation gifts, I think for so many people, they want to give the graduate something to help them get the supplies they'll need for college, especially if they'll be going to school away from home, but figuring out what they will need and actually be able to use can be tricky. It depends on the school, what is provided/allowed in the dorms, what their roommate will be bringing, etc. Money or a gift card is just a LOT easier for both giver and recipient.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Sharnita on May 18, 2012, 07:35:31 PM
Hmmm, I wonder if there is a huge diffeence in the cost of college for students in the US and in other countries - thus the whole monetary gift thing. 
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: kareng57 on May 18, 2012, 07:56:27 PM
We're pretty low-key in Canada as well

IME, very close relatives (such as grandparents who live nearby) might attend the ceremony along with parents - but you generally don't find people traveling long distances to attend a young relative's HS graduation.  Parents might hold a party, but it's for their graduating son/daughter and his/her friends.  It's not the kind of thing that they'd invite their own friends, adult neighbours, far-flung relatives etc. to.  And gifts would only be expected from parents.

I know things are different in the US.  I've never heard of anyone sending HS graduation announcements here, but I know that they're common there.  And re "graduation" from elementary and middle school - the administrations here seem to go to some effort to call them "leaving celebrations" rather than graduation.  You really don't graduate from anything prior to grade 12.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Penguin_ar on May 18, 2012, 08:47:49 PM
I Switzerland, where I grew up, you get a present on the first day of school  :)  An oversized paper cone filled with school supplies, fancy erasers and such.  It is common for grandparents or god parents to reward good grades (the US equivalent of an A+ is a 6), and kids often have a party when they finish school,  but no graduation gifts till college.

In Ireland, where I finished school, there is a prom like dance, and close family may give a gift such as jewellery or flowers, but no cash or major gift till college graduation either.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: camlan on May 18, 2012, 09:03:44 PM
High school graduation does confer a diploma on the graduates. Any "graduation" ceremonies prior to that really just mark a transition stage between the various stages of elementary and secondary education. As Kareng57 says, they are really leaving celebrations. "Graduation" by definition is a ceremony where a degree is conferred.

Kindergarten "graduation" ceremonies have been around for a long time, because it's cute to see little kids with construction paper caps on their heads. The other graduation ceremonies--6th grade or 8th grade--are relatively new. When I was in those grades back in the 1970s, graduations were unheard of, at least in my area, until high school.

Over the past 20 years or so, there has been an increase in the number of "graduations" for grades below 12th grade. These are more ceremonies to mark a rite of passage, from jr. high or middle school to high school, than a ceremony that bestows a degree on the participants.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: kareng57 on May 18, 2012, 09:11:42 PM
High school graduation does confer a diploma on the graduates. Any "graduation" ceremonies prior to that really just mark a transition stage between the various stages of elementary and secondary education. As Kareng57 says, they are really leaving celebrations. "Graduation" by definition is a ceremony where a degree is conferred.

Kindergarten "graduation" ceremonies have been around for a long time, because it's cute to see little kids with construction paper caps on their heads. The other graduation ceremonies--6th grade or 8th grade--are relatively new. When I was in those grades back in the 1970s, graduations were unheard of, at least in my area, until high school.

Over the past 20 years or so, there has been an increase in the number of "graduations" for grades below 12th grade. These are more ceremonies to mark a rite of passage, from jr. high or middle school to high school, than a ceremony that bestows a degree on the participants.

Yes.  For elementary school, it was a pizza-lunch in the gym (paid for by the PTA) with the teachers making a couple of speeches saying goodbye to the kids.  Any parents who could attend were welcome.  For middle school, it was a potluck dinner with a slide-show and short dance.  The administration made it clear that it was not a graduation, and any plans for limos, ballgown dresses/spa visits would be quashed.  Of course they likely couldn't have really enforced this, but everyone got the idea.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Lynn2000 on May 18, 2012, 10:08:04 PM
I don't get the idea of a graduation before H.S. 

But, I think in America it is really a "You are now an adult" thing rather than a "Graduation" thing.  There seems to be an engrained need to celebrate entering adulthood.  There are other celebrations for subgroups, but the H.S. Graduation seems to be the generic American version.

In America, theoretically, everyone gets the same education that takes 12 years.  So, you graduate when you are 17 or 18-years-old.  18-years-old is when you are considered an adult for everything except alcohol.  Generally speaking, after H.S. you are expected to move out of your parent's house and either work or go to college. 

p.s. I am the one that started the other thread.

POD, this is my impression as well (and I also don't 'get' pre-high school 'graduations'). I did want to mention, though, that in many parts of the US there are a lot of people who drop out of high school for one reason or another, so there are still many families where the child graduating from high school is achieving something her parents and grandparents never did. And she might have achieved that despite a lot of obstacles such as low income, home stresses, learning disabilities, etc.. So I think that in many cases, graduating from high school is considered a big achievement, not just something everyone does; and money might be given (if it could be afforded) to help out a little with college/adult living expenses or "useful treats."
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: sammycat on May 19, 2012, 01:07:08 AM
I did primer 1  - form 5 (grades 1-10) at school in NZ, and then grades 11-12 in Australia.  Leaving school wasn't a big deal, or any deal really, in Australia either. 

We had a formal (prom), after exams, a few days before school finished, but that was about it.  We simply went to school one day, and... didn't the next.

I've never come across an Australian school that had caps and gowns, a formal ceremony with diplomas, ticketed guests, etc.  Most will just have a final assembly.  Depending on the number of students they might call each student to the stage and give out a certificate, but that's about it.  I'm sure there are some schools that do a more elaborate farewell, but they'd be the exception, not the norm.

I've noticed more and more schools here are holding the formals earlier in the year, so it really can't even be considered a graduation event in the true sense of the word really. 

ETA:  A lot of primary schools do a mini graduation thing now though, before the kids move onto grade 8 at high school.  It seems to fall into 2 categories:  kids wear their uniforms to a school based function during the day, where there'll be snacks and each child gets a 'graduation' certificate;  or they wear nice clothes and have a slightly fancier 'do' either in the school/community hall with decorations and nicer food. 

Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: marcel on May 19, 2012, 01:59:12 AM
In The Netherlands high school graduation is a big deal. One tradition is that when you get word that you have passed your exams, you hang a flag out, with your schoolbag hanging from it.

It is customary here to give gifts or money for graduation. Especially when the student is going to university the next year, normal presents will be stuff you need when moving out on your own (pots, pans, plates, utensils, etc are very popular.)

However there are usually no big parties for family etc. Off course the students themselves do organize parties, not just after graduation, but also before that. The first parties start at the last day of the final exams, and the last parties will be around a week after graduation. Most people got together with a group of friends to organize a party, to keep expenses down, and also because if everybody organizes a party, it would even be too much for a couple of 17-19 year olds who have nothing better to do then wait around for their exam results.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Ereine on May 19, 2012, 02:13:10 AM
In Finland it's a huge thing (even with free higher education). Not everyone goes to high school (it's around 50 % I think) and though people get celebrated for graduating from vocational schools too, it's very low key compared to high schools.

I know that other countries have school leaving exams too and they're probably as hard as ours are but for some reason ours get a lot of attention. The questions get posted in newspapers (the next day) and when the results are announced there are stories about students who have done particularly well. This year there was a girl who got the highest grade in nine subjects, though many people take less exams. The system has changed and now it's possible to take more (in my time all sciences got lumped into one exam) but in my time taking four or five was common, you had to take at least four (mine were Finnish, Swedish, English, German and Maths). School years ends in February for third year high school students, there's some traditional celebration then (with other students), then there's a month's study leave for last minute studying and then there's the exams. Languages have two parts, listening comprehension which takes about an hour and a written exam that takes all day, for Finnish is two written exams (again, you have the whole day for each) and for Maths one exam, I think that these days other subjects (like chemistry and history and biology) get half a day each. You don't have to do the whole thing at once, you can take some subjects in the fall and some in spring. It can be quite easy, as it was for me, I passed easily with good enough grades but if you want to do very well you usually have to study a lot. Most universities have entrance exams but you will get points for your grades and sometimes with good enough grades you don't have to take the entrance exam.

There's a graduation ceremony at the school, usually only family goes there (because the seating is often limited and it's boring), there will be speeches and maybe some performances and it my school there was something involving men who had graduated there 50 years ago (when it was a boys' school). Then the students get called one by one and receive their diploma and the hat. The hat is very different from what I've seen used America, it's a remnant from a time when university students had to wear uniforms and it has a lot of symbolic value. Being a high school graduate used to be a big deal and it wasn't possible for most people, so people were very proud of them in their family and the students (they are called ylioppilaat, "high students") might wear the hat all the time. These days the hats only get worn at May Day, which is a student celebration here. This (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aa_5aRxqi8Q&feature=related) is what the hat looks like, with typical graduation fashions and singing. (and this (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_-MC0TzJK0bE/SouTXxcmd7I/AAAAAAAACZ8/y-5dKR7TU24/s320/yo.jpg) was me, 13 years ago at my graduation with my mother).

After the ceremony at the school there's usually a celebration at the students home. The guests are usually family, maybe family friends and possibly friends of the student if they aren't at their own parties. It's also not uncommon to invite teachers, for some reason I invited my art teacher and she actually came to my party. There are also gifts, money is the most common but you might also get gifts that are meant for your new independent life, like sheets and dishes and things like that. And I got a lot of roses. Some people may go partying with their friends later. And then you get a professional photo taken and send it to your relatives and they display it in their bookcase.

There are smaller ceremonies for other school levels but there usually isn't much celebration connected with them. School year always end with a ceremony/assembly thing, with performances and singing and there's usually something involving the class that's leaving the school. I think that at one school we were given roses and at another our diplomas. There's no formal kindergarden here so no graduation for that.             
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: kherbert05 on May 19, 2012, 07:30:17 AM
I don't see a problem with completion ceremonies. We have end of the year award ceremonies for all grades. The Kinder and 5th grade are a little more fancy. The 5th graders also get their first school dance.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Lynn2000 on May 19, 2012, 10:38:44 AM
Fascinating to hear about schooling and graduation in other countries! Thanks a lot! :)
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: jaxsue on May 19, 2012, 02:04:42 PM
We're pretty low-key in Canada as well

IME, very close relatives (such as grandparents who live nearby) might attend the ceremony along with parents - but you generally don't find people traveling long distances to attend a young relative's HS graduation.  Parents might hold a party, but it's for their graduating son/daughter and his/her friends.  It's not the kind of thing that they'd invite their own friends, adult neighbours, far-flung relatives etc. to.  And gifts would only be expected from parents.

I know things are different in the US.  I've never heard of anyone sending HS graduation announcements here, but I know that they're common there.  And re "graduation" from elementary and middle school - the administrations here seem to go to some effort to call them "leaving celebrations" rather than graduation.  You really don't graduate from anything prior to grade 12.

I'm born and raised in the US, but my entire extended family is in Canada (parents never gave up their Can citizenship, so I was raised in that culture), and I've noticed the difference, too. Frankly, I like the Canadian way better.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Thipu1 on May 20, 2012, 09:43:39 AM
In my experience, graduations are a recognition of a change from one school to another. 
I've had four Graduations. 

The first one was the Kindergarten Graduation.  It was a little thing.  Kids wore Sunday clothes.  Moms made oaktag mortar boards.  Boys had blue wool tassels and girls had pink wool tassels.  The Kindergarten rhythm Band played.  At base, Kindergarten Graduation was an occasion for happy parents to take pretty pictures of their children. 
According to my mother, I was 'cheated' out of an 8th Grade Graduation because my class was transferred to the local High School.  The 8th Grade Graduation was as far as my Father got. 

High School graduation had to be a low-key big deal. My Mother had her High School Graduation and, in her generation, that was a wonderful thing.  My school didn't have a Prom.  Parties were back-yard  affairs with burgers on the grill,  Christmas lights strung around the lawn and friends dancing to records.

The party when I received my BA was smaller still.  It was only family and the burgers were still the food of choice. 

In 2000 I received my Master's degree. It passed without comment.  The only person who acknowledged it was Mr. Thipu.  I didn't even receive a card from anyone on either side of the family.     



Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Venus193 on May 20, 2012, 11:06:37 AM
My junior high had a grad ceremony at the high school it fed.  I don't remember the color of the caps and gowns; I think they were blue and they were rented.  I have no photos of it.  My high school graduation caps and gowns were maroon and were also rented. 

My college cap and gown were purchased and were black; I still have them.

My mother did not attend either my high school or my college graduation.  She took a European vacation during the first and we were not on speaking terms for the latter.  I don't recall receiving many gifts for any of these.

Of course now that Brunhilde's son is graduating from junior high I am wondering what is an appropriate gift.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Sharnita on May 20, 2012, 11:59:22 AM
As an American I had a graduation ceremony from High School and from University - undergrad and then grad.  We did have a ceremony when we left 8th grade but it was not called graduation, there were no caps and gowns and it was probably more out of recognition that we were going from a parochial school to a public school. There was definitely nothing in kindergarten or the lower grades.  I never really heard of people I knew in other districts doing that kind of thing, either.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: dietcokeofevil on May 20, 2012, 08:35:03 PM
I'm in the US, to me the big fuss behind high school graduation is that it's the ending of one stage of your life and the start of another.  Most of the people that I know went away to college and didn't return back to our hometown.  After spending 13 years in school with the same students, it's a big change.  Graduation presents are intended to help the students prepare for college or moving out on their own.  Besides money, I received towels, bedding, and just general stuff that were needed for a dorm room.   Most of the people had open houses, so it's kind of a thing to go to multiple open houses for various students that you know.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: nuit93 on May 20, 2012, 08:59:54 PM
Hi everyone!

I was just reading a thread in Life in General about how much money to give for a high school graduation, and was surprised to see everybody suggesting sums instead of questioning giving money in the first place. I'm pretty sure this is a cultural thing.

I grew up in New Zealand but now live in North America. In New Zealand (at least when I was there) there was no such thing as a high school graduation. Usually the students held a party, but that was organized by them, not the school. Nobody gives gifts, or even really congratulates you. I think it's just not considered a big deal; it's just something you're expected to do, rather than being an achievement. Even when I finished university, I got a couple of small gifts and a family dinner, but that was it (again, it's just something you're expected to do).

So obviously North America is different. What about other countries? Is it all of North America, or just parts?

I just thought about it, and I come from a family that's not easily impressed. Some of this may be my personal experience talking (but I maintain that graduation ceremonies for kindergarteners is silly!)  ;)

I'm from North America, I did attend my HS graduation ceremony and did have a small BBQ with my family afterwards, but it wasn't considered a HUGE deal.  As my mom put it, "I *expect* you to graduate High School.  I'll *celebrate* you graduating college."
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Sharnita on May 20, 2012, 09:12:47 PM
I'm in the US, to me the big fuss behind high school graduation is that it's the ending of one stage of your life and the start of another.  Most of the people that I know went away to college and didn't return back to our hometown.  After spending 13 years in school with the same students, it's a big change.  Graduation presents are intended to help the students prepare for college or moving out on their own.  Besides money, I received towels, bedding, and just general stuff that were needed for a dorm room.   Most of the people had open houses, so it's kind of a thing to go to multiple open houses for various students that you know.

This is a good point.  as I considered this it occurred to me that, in Michigan at least, there is an astounding number of colleges and universities for grads to choose from so even those going on do not go on together.  There are something like 13 state universities and some of those have multiple campuses.  In addition there are private college, community colleges, etc. I looked it up because I was curious and even living in the state I was astounded.  I do know my brother and I were in college at the same time and attended schools that were at least 9 hours apart (in good weather, driving 70 mph). 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colleges_and_universities_in_Michigan
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: magdalena on May 21, 2012, 06:54:11 AM
Ereine explained the Finnish clebration perfectly.

I still have my graduation picture in my office bookcase. And the hat sits on top of that bookcase. I no longer live in Finland and that picture and the hat attract a lot of questions  ;D

Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Thipu1 on May 21, 2012, 09:02:51 AM
All the robes for graduation were rented except for College.  It was required for incoming students to have their own caps and gowns because the school had a monthly convocation at which Academic attire was mandatory. 

In a way, this was merciful because, in a pinch, you could throw the stuff on over your nightgown and still look perfectly respectable.  The gown has also come in quite handy as the base for Halloween costumes over the years.  The monogram is also kind of neat. 
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: #borecore on May 21, 2012, 10:46:14 AM
We had to buy or borrow high school (royal blue with blue-and-white tassel, plus honor cords depending on your standing) and college robes (black with a tassel and sash that coordinated with your degree program -- red for me -- plus multiple gold honor cords and medals). My robes got passed down to people of similar height.

I still have my red tassel.

Our eighth and fifth grade events were definitely dressing-up occasions, but they were more award ceremonies than 'graduations.' We had annual award ceremonies every year through college, at which students were given academic honors. Attendance was mandatory in elementary (every student got some kind of 'award,' sometimes just a 'completion' certificate), and invite-only thereafter for students who earned recognition and their parents.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Saffy on May 21, 2012, 01:28:44 PM
Thanks for all the responses!

What the people who have grown up with high school graduation being a 'thing' say makes sense - that not everyone achieves it (true in NZ also), that it's a celebration and acknowledgement of changing phases of life, and that sometimes it's just a good excuse for a celebration. I do kind of wish my family made a bigger deal of things, my poor kids will probably have to deal with me throwing parties for every new thing, no matter how insignificant!

Sharnita made a really good point too, that college is much more expensive in the US, so more help is offered (in the form of gifts). I often forget how much more expensive it is for students in the US.

It's really interesting reading about all the different education traditions in other countries too. I had to hire my cap and gown for my university graduation. I still remember how much it cost (about $150) and I was so annoyed - there were lots of other things I would have preferred to spend that money on!
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: jaxsue on May 21, 2012, 01:47:33 PM
I'm in the US, to me the big fuss behind high school graduation is that it's the ending of one stage of your life and the start of another.  Most of the people that I know went away to college and didn't return back to our hometown.  After spending 13 years in school with the same students, it's a big change.  Graduation presents are intended to help the students prepare for college or moving out on their own.  Besides money, I received towels, bedding, and just general stuff that were needed for a dorm room.   Most of the people had open houses, so it's kind of a thing to go to multiple open houses for various students that you know.

This is a good point.  as I considered this it occurred to me that, in Michigan at least, there is an astounding number of colleges and universities for grads to choose from so even those going on do not go on together.  There are something like 13 state universities and some of those have multiple campuses.  In addition there are private college, community colleges, etc. I looked it up because I was curious and even living in the state I was astounded.  I do know my brother and I were in college at the same time and attended schools that were at least 9 hours apart (in good weather, driving 70 mph). 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colleges_and_universities_in_Michigan

I grew up in MI, and there are tons of colleges! I went to school in Grand Rapids, and in that town alone there were a lot of private colleges.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: #borecore on May 21, 2012, 02:26:11 PM
Thanks for all the responses!

What the people who have grown up with high school graduation being a 'thing' say makes sense - that not everyone achieves it (true in NZ also), that it's a celebration and acknowledgement of changing phases of life, and that sometimes it's just a good excuse for a celebration. I do kind of wish my family made a bigger deal of things, my poor kids will probably have to deal with me throwing parties for every new thing, no matter how insignificant!

Sharnita made a really good point too, that college is much more expensive in the US, so more help is offered (in the form of gifts). I often forget how much more expensive it is for students in the US.

It's really interesting reading about all the different education traditions in other countries too. I had to hire my cap and gown for my university graduation. I still remember how much it cost (about $150) and I was so annoyed - there were lots of other things I would have preferred to spend that money on!

Ours were about $30 to buy! That is crazy.

My "senior portraits" were a fun experience and turned out beautifully. I don't know if getting a bunch of photos taken of you is a regional, national or global tradition, though.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Lynn2000 on May 21, 2012, 07:40:41 PM
My "senior portraits" were a fun experience and turned out beautifully. I don't know if getting a bunch of photos taken of you is a regional, national or global tradition, though.

I would say senior portraits (for high school seniors) were a pretty big deal at my high school (US Midwest). That was ten years ago but if anything I bet they're a bigger deal now--very professional, slick, multiple poses and outfits. A lot of people have them taken with accoutrements from high school--like a basketball if they were on the basketball team, for example. Or with personal possessions--around here it tends to be the student's beloved vehicle, often a truck, and sometimes also their dog. Not every pose, of course, but the dog or the truck usually get in there somewhere. (This is separate from the generic "school pictures" that are taken every year by the school photographer.)

I did not have special senior portraits taken because I don't like being photographed, and I got a lot of grief from older relatives who wanted copies of them.

I think people sometimes have a similar thing done for when they graduate college, but it doesn't seem like it's as big of a thing.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: KenveeB on May 21, 2012, 09:29:57 PM
It's really interesting reading about all the different education traditions in other countries too. I had to hire my cap and gown for my university graduation. I still remember how much it cost (about $150) and I was so annoyed - there were lots of other things I would have preferred to spend that money on!

Ours were about $30 to buy! That is crazy.

There can be a big difference in quality levels -- our high school ones were flimsy and wouldn't be worn past the one night, but our college ones were sturdy and could be worn as regular clothing. It was a college tradition for the seniors to wear their robes throughout the year at various events. Opening Convocation for each semester, but also less formal days like homecoming or 100 days until graduation. Those days, we'd wear them all day over our regular clothes.  For Opening Convocation of fall semester, we'd wear the robes with lingerie under it. Then afterwards, all the seniors would go jump in the lake in just our lingerie. ;)  Ahh, the traditions of women's colleges.

It amazed me how heavy the doctoral gowns are, with the big bell sleeves and velvet stripes. I was just about ready to pass out after an hour in that! We had the option to buy them, but you don't have the reason to wear them often unless you go into academia. So I rented mine.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: Thipu1 on May 22, 2012, 07:57:42 AM
Our High School Senior portraits were a little different from the public schools in the area.  In the public schools, the photos were taken in school.  Girls wore black turtlenecks and the photographer provided a set of pearls so everyone was dressed alike.

Oddly enough, our Catholic school was a bit more sophisticated.  We made appointments with a local photographer and the photos were studio portraits.  The girls had to take off their blouses and wore a v-necked drape with a small crucifix provided by the photographer.  The photos were black and white.  (This was in 1965).  The pictures were then hand-colored so we could choose what color the drape would be. 

It sounds odd but the process did make everyone look like a debutante. 
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: #borecore on May 22, 2012, 09:21:47 AM
Our High School Senior portraits were a little different from the public schools in the area.  In the public schools, the photos were taken in school.  Girls wore black turtlenecks and the photographer provided a set of pearls so everyone was dressed alike.

Oddly enough, our Catholic school was a bit more sophisticated.  We made appointments with a local photographer and the photos were studio portraits.  The girls had to take off their blouses and wore a v-necked drape with a small crucifix provided by the photographer.  The photos were black and white.  (This was in 1965).  The pictures were then hand-colored so we could choose what color the drape would be. 

It sounds odd but the process did make everyone look like a debutante.

Our official yearbook photos had the velvet drape and pearls (optional, you could pick a necklace of your own) for girls and a tuxedo dickie for the boys. The same was done throughout the region.

My senior portrait package also included a few of me in a suit with my vintage typewriter (destined for journalism school!), plus a few hokey Texas shots in a pearl-snap shirt, and some in a formal dress or T-shirt and jeans out in a park, and some in a studio in a nice sweater and pants.
That was 10 years ago.

My brother 6 years ago just did the tux shot and a few in a nice polo in front of a variety of studio backdrops. My sister this year opted to only do the yearbook photo, and sent a nicely edited picture (taken by my mother) of her with her guitar in front of the bedroom mural she painted. Very 'her,' very now and not very traditional.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: jaxsue on May 23, 2012, 09:54:54 AM
Re: senior pictures and regional differences: My X-DH is from the deep south. Where he lived all the pics were as a PP described: velvet drape for the girls and tuxedo look for the guys.

Where I grew up, in the N. midwest, our pics were quite casual. Mine were taken outdoors and I wore a velour sweater (all the rage in the late 70s!).  :) Other classmates had their pics taken with family pets like dogs, horses, etc.

However, things have changed in the south (at least where DS #2 lives). His senior pic is very casual; he's wearing a Dead Kennedy's t-shirt and it was taken outside.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: kareng57 on May 23, 2012, 08:12:21 PM
We're pretty low-key in Canada as well

IME, very close relatives (such as grandparents who live nearby) might attend the ceremony along with parents - but you generally don't find people traveling long distances to attend a young relative's HS graduation.  Parents might hold a party, but it's for their graduating son/daughter and his/her friends.  It's not the kind of thing that they'd invite their own friends, adult neighbours, far-flung relatives etc. to.  And gifts would only be expected from parents.

I know things are different in the US.  I've never heard of anyone sending HS graduation announcements here, but I know that they're common there.  And re "graduation" from elementary and middle school - the administrations here seem to go to some effort to call them "leaving celebrations" rather than graduation.  You really don't graduate from anything prior to grade 12.

I'm born and raised in the US, but my entire extended family is in Canada (parents never gave up their Can citizenship, so I was raised in that culture), and I've noticed the difference, too. Frankly, I like the Canadian way better.


We once spent a Friday evening in a small US town in early June.  The hotel manager remarked that we'd gotten the last room available - good thing we'd reserved ahead of time.  We'd tried a few B&Bs before trying the hotel but they were fully booked for that day.

It turned out that it was graduation-weekend for the town's one high school.  And, just looking at the license plates in parking lots/on the street, there were a fair number from several states away.  I'm certainly not criticizing this in any way, just that it's quite different from here.
Title: Re: High School Graduation
Post by: dietcokeofevil on May 23, 2012, 08:30:21 PM
At my high school in Indiana, the senior portraits were a big deal.  In the yearbook, the younger grades had the typical school picture - grey backdrop with just their face and shoulders.  Each grade had a 2 page layout with just the photos and the students names.

For seniors, you had your picture taken by a professional photographer.  Besides using all of the different backdrops in the studio, you could pay extra to have a photo shoot at the place of your choosing.   In the yearbook, you had a decent sized picture, plus a listing of all the activities you had been involved in while in school.   

People also picked out two or three different poses and had a bunch of wallet sized photos taken.  You exchanged photos with all of your friends, and also included them in your graduation announcements.