Graduation is an annual tradition celebrating seniors who have reached a milestone and are moving on to the next chapter in their lives.
Regalia including stoles, cords and buttons are among the objects used to honor seniors for their astounding work during their four years of high school. Administration and teachers feel that certain students feel degraded while watching their classmates strut across the stage covered in honorary decor. This raises the question of which is more important: equality or recognition?
On Mar. 5 there was a meeting held with students and faculty to discuss the issue. About 20 students there present, mostly seniors with a couple of juniors in attendance as well. Those seniors were the four class officers, and the graduation committee, which is made up of five students in senior planning. Around 10 faculty members were there, most notably, Jennifer Bauer (sponsor for National Honors Society), Christina Rice (Graduation Coordinator), Anne-Marie Steppling, (co-sponsor for Patriot Ambassadors), and Tiffany Awkard (12th grade administrator).
In the meeting, students voiced their concerns for taking honors away due to the time commitment and hard work that students put in as well as the short time before graduation.
Senior Aneesa Salahuddin was invited to the meeting and believes that students need to be recognized for their achievements and service. “It’s hypocritical that the same teachers and administration that encouraged us to participate in all of these honor societies when we began high school are now trying to lessen our recognition,” Salahuddin said.
Senior Yuvi Singh is on the graduation committee and agrees with Salahuddin that students should be honored for what they’ve done during high school. “Everyone has had different journeys to graduation. We are all graduates, but took different paths to get there,” Singh said.
In addition to concerns relating to equality, faculty members were bothered by the fact that students lost a sense of what the distinctions meant in the first place. In the meeting, Miim Kwak (Sponsor for Math Honors Society) said that the regalia have lost their true meaning. When Kwak asked, one student wasn’t even able to identify what each of their cords/stoles represented.
Instead of getting rid of the adornments all together, alternatives have been proposed. Teachers suggested only cords as opposed to stoles, buttons and tassels. However, students with an amplitude of cords could also present a challenge with separating themselves from the other graduates. Another option would be for every graduate to receive one stole, as well as buttons to pin on for the distinctions that one has. The last alternative that was discussed is to narrow the list into a more finite group that receives the honors.
No decision has been made as of Mar. 10, but according to Singh one should be coming in the next few days.