Author Topic: High School Graduation  (Read 4923 times)

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Saffy

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High School Graduation
« on: May 18, 2012, 08:29:41 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!)  ;)

cabbagegirl28

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 11:35:34 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.


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Sophia

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 11:50:00 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.

Judah

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 12:20:48 PM »
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
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NyaChan

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 12:54:08 PM »
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!

violinp

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 12:54:45 PM »
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
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Horace

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 05:27:15 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.

QueenfaninCA

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 05:46:22 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.

jmarvellous

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 05:52:22 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.

jedikaiti

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 06:07:32 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.
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Sharnita

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 08:35:31 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. 

kareng57

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2012, 08:56:27 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.

Penguin_ar

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 09:47:49 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.

camlan

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 10:03:44 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.
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kareng57

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Re: High School Graduation
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012, 10:11:42 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.