Half my lifetime ago, I graduated from high school.
While I have mostly fond memories of my high school–I’m very fortunate to have been in an environment where the vast majority of students were eager to learn–the actual graduation ceremony is almost completely inconsequential in my mind.
So why am I writing about my high school graduation ceremony? Because Saturday Night Live featured a video on the topic a few days ago. I think it’s worth a watch, as it pokes fun at a number of ceremonial tropes.
Personally, I recall sitting at my graduation wondering why all the ceremonial pomp and circumstance was necessary. Is it something we do–in America, at least–simply because we’ve “always” done it? Is it more for the teachers, students, or parents?
I think perhaps the reason it didn’t resonate with me is because it was so anticlimactic. It was no surprise to any of us that we were graduating. We knew that for months.
So I have a proposal to make high school graduation ceremonies more meaningful. I propose that they look a lot more like the ceremonies in at the beginning of every young adult dystopian novel.
Take The Giver, for example. At the beginning of The Giver, young people participate in a ceremony when they’re assigned their new jobs. They enter the ceremony with complete uncertainty about their future, and they leave with a sense of purpose.
The closest real-life equivalent is the colleges students are accepted into. What if instead of colleges sending acceptance/rejection letters to student applicants, they send them to the high school, and the results are revealed student by student at a live ceremony? Now that’s a ceremony I’d remember for the rest of my life.
That’s just me–your experience might be quite different than mine. How do you feel about your high school graduation ceremony?