Graduation Day - Closing One Door to Open Another11:19 AM
Graduation Day to most people is like closing one door to open another. It is completing one level of education to qualify for the next. A Filipino student will undergo at least three graduations in his lifetime for elementary, high school, and college. This does not include graduation from toddler school, pre-school, and higher studies. It is of note that because of the newly adopted K-12 curriculum, students will have graduation rites for grade 6, grade 10, and grade 12. It is quite clear therefore that it is impossible to finish education without the rite of passage called graduation.
What is Graduation?
Graduation is a formal ceremony wherein school authorities as authorized by specific government agencies confer on their graduates a degree or approval to go to the next educational level such as from elementary to high school or from high school to college. This signals the successful completion of students of the requirements set by law and the school to continue on to the higher level of education. It is considered a happy occasion and momentous event not only for the graduates but also to their families who usually provide support both in times of challenges and accomplishments.
Recognition of Achievements
Graduation is also an opportune time to recognize students who have consistently showed excellence in academics, conduct, attendance, extra-curricular activities, and special contributions made to the honor of the school as a whole. School administrators, teachers, and mentors who went out of their way to obtain the best performance from their students are also given appreciation. All graduates regardless of whether they have received awards or not are all considered successful by the very feat of graduating. It is traditional however for the top graduate to make a valedictory address to the audience.
Inspiration and Encouragement
Graduation is also an occasion to provide inspiration and encouragement to graduates who may be feeling some uncertainty in entering a new phase in their student life. As the level goes higher, so does the expectation and the responsibility. There is usually a keynote speaker assigned to do this.
Graduation rites never fail to move me especially when it involves my very own children. The feeling of pride is unmistakable in their sense of accomplishment. Seeing them wearing their toga is enough to make my heart feel like bursting with joy and relief for hurdling one more milestone in their young life.
The keynote speaker during my son's graduation from elementary today is a priest and an alumna of the school in another campus. He only requested for one introduction and that was his name and the fact that he graduated from elementary without honors. Of course, that elicited laughter from the audience but its message was quite clear.
Knowing perhaps the feeling of the majority of graduates who have no special awards to speak of, it was a way of saying that life will still turn out alright even without such awards. Even during the homily in the graduates' baccalaureate mass , the priest shared that he has had the chance of meeting previous graduates who now have families of their own and proved that success was not always measured by the awards received during graduation. It is really about what path one chooses to take as he or she advances through life.
That said, I commend the students who have done well during the school year and have been recognized for it. I commend as well all the graduates for the year for a job well done. Lastly and certainly not the least, I commend the parents of these students, who remain to be the wind beneath their wings. On Graduation Day, a door may close but only to open another for better opportunities.