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High School Graduation

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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'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.

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.

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

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!


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