Author Topic: "Graduation" Participation  (Read 8129 times)

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bonyk

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2013, 10:41:35 AM »
Also, the child may stick out more than Anna thinks.  Graduation rehearsal usually goes on for a few weeks before the ceremony, and if the child is not participating she may have to sit to the side so as not to mess up the order.

It's also possible that the child may not be as discrete as Anna would like.  If child gets questioned by her classmates, she most likely will begin to declare, "I'm not going to sill old graduation, because I'm going to Super! Fun! World! instead!"  That may cause a bit of a ruckus, and draw more attention than Anna believes it will.

Hmmmmm

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2013, 10:46:14 AM »
I personally think this is a discussion solely between Anna, her husband, and her child. I doubt the school or others will care much whether her son participates or not. I think the decision should be based on how they as a family view graduations, but they need to also be aware that not everyone will have the same opinion. Some people see a graduation ceremony as "Wow, look at what you accomplished' while others like me see it as simply an acknowledgement that one stage of your education is over and another is beginning.

I graduated HS in 1983. I had a Kindergarten graduation ceremony, a 5th grade graduation ceremony, an 8th grade graduation ceremony, a HS graduation ceremony and a college graduations ceremony. In each,accept Kindergarten, honor students were recognized as were kids who showed leadership in other ways, and awards handed out. But for the majority of kids it was simply a way to mark the transition from elementary to junior high and junior high to highschool.

Even most college graduation ceremonies really focus on discussing the next phase of the graduates life, not really about what they've done for the last 4 to 5 years.

nolechica

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2013, 10:53:43 AM »
As someone who made some big decisions about where to go to 8th grade and then HS, I skipped graduation when I elected not to go to private school (where we had kindergarten graduation too).  That then hurt my entrance exams for HS, so no, finishing 8th grade isn't pointless for everyone. 


Twik

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2013, 10:54:25 AM »
I think this is not really a principle I'd make a stand on. In the long run, what is the benefit of non-participation? But not participating can cause the daughter some social difficulties.

It seems rather, well, puritanical to make a stand on a such a trivial issue.
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Tabby Uprising

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2013, 10:56:55 AM »
I think this is not really a principle I'd make a stand on. In the long run, what is the benefit of non-participation? But not participating can cause the daughter some social difficulties.

It seems rather, well, puritanical to make a stand on a such a trivial issue.

Whatever it is, her decision doesn't qualify as SS at all.  Beyond that, it's a personal decision that doesn't have anything to do with etiquette. 

betty

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2013, 11:13:46 AM »
Special snowflake? I don't know. But it seems kind of controlling to not allow a child to participate in the ceremony if she or he wants to. Finishing middle school is a milestone.

My son just finished 8th grade and will start high school next month. His middle school had a "continuation" ceremony. No caps and gowns. Parents and the other grades were in attendance. Some kids received awards or recognition, some made speeches, the band and choir performed. Two retiring teachers were given a nice send-off. Every student received a certificate and shook the principal's hand. Then it was off to the last-day-of-school pool party.

It was nice for the kids to be able to remember some of the good times they had in middle school, to get inspired as they move on to high school, and to spend time with friends and classmates that they may not see in high school.

camlan

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #36 on: July 25, 2013, 11:38:51 AM »
I'm on Anna's side with this. A leave-taking ceremony, an awards ceremony--fine. Caps and gowns? Premature and, to me, pretentious. "Diplomas"? Seriously? They haven't earned anything. If you have to give a piece of paper, call it a certificate. This is the pedantic part of me coming to the fore--you earn a diploma when you are graduated from high school. It cheapens the worth of that diploma to call an eight-grade leaving certificate a "diploma."

If I were Anna, this is what I'd do.

I'd bring the matter up to the school. It could very well be that there are other parents who feel the ceremony has gotten out of hand and who would welcome cutting back on the excess trappings. Or parents who can't really afford to buy or rent the cap and gown, but feel forced into doing so, so that their child will not stand out. I don't see any real reason why she can't make her thoughts on the matter known, in a calm and polite way.

It is not SS behavior to state that you don't like this one particular aspect of the school. If a parent can have input on the dress code, or the detention policy or any other part of school life, they can have their say about the leave-taking ceremony as well.

Then I'd talk about it with the child, making my views known and the reasons behind them.

Then I'd let the kid make up his/her mind about attending the ceremony. Depending on how strongly I felt about it, if the child decided to participate in the ceremony, I might make them pay for the cap and gown, through their allowance and paying for odd jobs they would do around the house. Or I might give them the money for the cap and gown and tell them they can either spend it on the cap and gown to attend the ceremony OR they can not attend the ceremony and spend it as they choose. Or I might offer a choice between the attending the ceremony or attending SuperFunPark or other interesting/fun/educational place, like an natural history museum or National Park.

If they choose to attend and they wanted me there, I'd go. 

I would also make it clear to the child that, no matter what they decided, there would be the standard at-home family celebration for a member of the family that has achieved a milestone--the family party, with cake and silly jokes and probably a small present to mark the occasion.

For something like this, there will probably be practices for a few weeks ahead of time. It can be very painful to kids at this age to be singled out and separated from the group. It's a delicate balance between the parents' standards and not making school life too difficult for the kids.

I know, my parents had very strict, rigorous beliefs about a lot of things, and I spent most of middle and high school as the different kid who dressed funny, couldn't go to parties or dances and in many other ways stuck out like a sore thumb. So while I dislike many of the aspects of the ceremony described in the OP, I would be very careful about forbidding my child to take part in it.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2013, 11:45:05 AM »
Despite my advocating for letting the ceremony proceed, I agree that caps and gowns are more than a little overboard.  Anna might very well find support with other parents for skipping the caps and gowns.

Historically, I think there was often a little ceremony to mark the end of Grade 8 because for many kids, that was the end of their formal education.  They'd be working on the farm or taking care of the household and younger siblings after that.
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pixel dust

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2013, 11:50:19 AM »
I'm going to give a slightly different opinion on this...

I went to one school, in one building, from K-8th grade. It was a private religious school with no natural next step high school. Of the 70ish kids in my "graduating class", there were over 10 different high school we all went to (half private high schools, half public depending on what city you lived in - there was kids from at least 4 different cities in my grade). Graduating was a BIG step. We had gowns (edit to add: the gown was the same one we used for our confirmation ceremony which was earlier in the year, so it wasn't a huge expense) and a ceremony. It WAS a huge deal. It was akin to high school graduation for us. We had spent NINE YEARS with these friends and classmates. 8th grade graduation meant more to me than my high school graduation.

If my mother had attempted to hold me out of the ceremony or prevent me from going to my friends grad parties, I would have been royally peeved. There was a very good chance that this would be the last time I saw the majority of these kids.

This all being said - graduation from a public junior high where 90%+ of the kids would be moving on to the same high school - I'd be ok with her holding her child out. That's not a big deal.

BUT if this was a private school graduation like mine - I'd completely disagree with her.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 12:12:32 PM by pixel dust »

mbbored

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2013, 11:57:53 AM »
I don't see the connection between not wanting everybody to get a trophy and not wanting an 8th grade graduation ceremony. To finish middle school, the students had to study and work to pass all their classes. And being a valedictorian definitely reflects hard work.

I think Anna should leave it up to her 8th grader, hopefully without a lot of pressure to come around to Anna's side.

asb8

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2013, 12:00:33 PM »
Anna and I are online friends and live several states apart.  I'm pretty sure this is a public school but not positive. I do know that is a standard 6-8 middle school.

It's not that she thinks finishing middle school isn't an accomplishment, its more that she thinks how it is being marked is completely overblown and diminishes what she feels are the larger accomplishments of high school/college graduation. End of year party, yes. End of year award ceremony, yes.  Mimicking high school/college graduation, no.

For what it's worth, I don't really share her view either and think its a somewhat strange hill to die on as well.

JennJenn68

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #41 on: July 25, 2013, 12:03:04 PM »
I just had the "privilege" (quotes intentional) of attending my son's "graduation" from eighth grade a month ago.  I was appalled at the spectacle.  Long gowns on the girls, tuxedos on many of the boys, limousines sweeping up to the door--I couldn't believe my eyes.  What are we going to give these kids for graduating from high school or university to top this?  (Let's not even think about future wedding expectations!) It was insane, particularly in view of the fact that in my province it is impossible for a child not to "graduate" from grade eight--all he/she needs is a pulse; no other achievements are necessary. 

That being said, it wasn't up to me to tell my son that he wasn't allowed to go.  His views on dressing up match his father's (who will basically only wear a suit at gunpoint!) so I didn't have to worry about him begging me to rent him a tux, but I figured it was his decision to attend or not.  For the record, he changed his mind several times in the weeks before because he didn't want to be the only boy there without a "date", but on the actual day he said he would go.   I drove him there, stood by the back door for the ceremony (crowd anxiety issues) and went home, sending his father to pick him up from the dance later.

The whole overblown thing left a bad taste in my mouth, and if this is becoming typical, I believe that it needs to be addressed.  Forcing one's child to boycott the ceremony, however, is not the answer and it punishes the child.  I wish that there was an easy answer.  I'm just glad that I'm done with it.

lady_disdain

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #42 on: July 25, 2013, 12:32:47 PM »
Limos and tuxes? Wow!

TootsNYC

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #43 on: July 25, 2013, 12:36:01 PM »
Wow, why all the hate against 8th grade graduation? This is not a new trend. I graduated (I refuse to use quotes) from 8th grade 23 years ago. What do all of you have against letting the students feel some sense of accomplishment?

I do agree that big parties and expecting expensive gifts may be a bit much.

I agree that "special snowflake" is not the term here. There's not the tiniest bit of "special snowflake"-ness.

But I also think that the mere fact of the 8th-grade graduation ceremony is fine. Your schooling does significantly change after middle school. And in many communities, your life does as well, because you go to a completely different school.

(In earlier times, that might well have been the end of a person's formal schooling--they'd enter the workplace at that point, or an apprenticeship/vocational training.)

Plus there are achievement awards, scholarships, and other sorts of things to be distributed, and those achievements deserve a little bit of fanfare. The trappings of the traditional graduation ceremony simply gives a framework in which to say goodbye to the years' worth of teachers and classmates and friends and school. And those awards, scholarships, etc.

The graduation is *also* a way to say to the younger kids that finishing 8th grade is important. It's a PR or marketing tactic, actually. It gives them something to look forward to.

You can go through the hooplah without being IN the hooplah. That's what we did, I believe. We focused, in our family, on the academic achievement (hey, it IS an achievement), the scholarships, the rite of passage and change of circumstances.

In fact, that is a very valuable lesson to teach your kid--how to be *partly* invested. How to keep their own perspective when the rest of the event is overblown. She would probably serve her child better by modeling how to do that--how to get hydrated without drinking the cool-ade.

Hmmmmm

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Re: "Graduation" Participation
« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2013, 12:41:14 PM »
I just had the "privilege" (quotes intentional) of attending my son's "graduation" from eighth grade a month ago.  I was appalled at the spectacle.  Long gowns on the girls, tuxedos on many of the boys, limousines sweeping up to the door--I couldn't believe my eyes.  What are we going to give these kids for graduating from high school or university to top this?  (Let's not even think about future wedding expectations!) It was insane, particularly in view of the fact that in my province it is impossible for a child not to "graduate" from grade eight--all he/she needs is a pulse; no other achievements are necessary. 

That being said, it wasn't up to me to tell my son that he wasn't allowed to go.  His views on dressing up match his father's (who will basically only wear a suit at gunpoint!) so I didn't have to worry about him begging me to rent him a tux, but I figured it was his decision to attend or not.  For the record, he changed his mind several times in the weeks before because he didn't want to be the only boy there without a "date", but on the actual day he said he would go.   I drove him there, stood by the back door for the ceremony (crowd anxiety issues) and went home, sending his father to pick him up from the dance later.

The whole overblown thing left a bad taste in my mouth, and if this is becoming typical, I believe that it needs to be addressed.  Forcing one's child to boycott the ceremony, however, is not the answer and it punishes the child.  I wish that there was an easy answer.  I'm just glad that I'm done with it.


Wait, they had the graduation ceremony and 8th grade dance combined? I've never heard of this.  At my kid's 8th grade dance, limo's were forbidden by the school. They used the excuse that the limos didn't have proper place to turn around and were causing traffic jams. It was really because too many 14 year olds were showing up to the 8th grade dance drunk.

I'll admit to thinking the elaborate 8th grade dance my kid's attended were overblown. Mom's working non-stop for months and elaborate decorations and activities that most HS Prom's don't have.