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Graduation is a celebration

May 20, 2012
Margaret Coughran, Duncanville, Texas , Times-Republican

Dear Abby ran a column on Mother's Day pleading with attendees at graduation to ban children, horns and motion as well as requesting that all graduates receive the same volume and length of accolades as they cross the stage. I was fortunate enough to teach at both MHS and IVCC in the 1990s and remember the students so well. They were terrific people - all of them and none of them failed my class. Consequently, I have a very different opinion about graduation which I will now share.

Graduation is for the students and their families. It is not for the teachers or administrators. The grads are announced one at a time and rarely are you sitting by the family making a commotion when your graduate is next announced. If the graduate is the first in their family to graduate whether it be high school or college, encourage that family to blast horns and jump out of their seats. Those grads have changed the course of future generations of their family who will follow in their footsteps by completing their education. Although I was valedictorian of my high school class, I can safely say that I did not work as hard to get A's as many who struggled to get C's. If your child hated the whole concept of school and still made it across the stage, it is a joyful - prayerful - time for many. By golly, stand up and make a scene for your graduate.

Take the young children to observe (and your neighbor's kids too) so that they will be inspired to not only graduate, but also be the student who speaks or the even the ones who wear the stripes on their sleeves. The commencement bulletins should include diagrams of regalia labeled in several languages so that the foreign guests and lesser educated in the audience can pay attention to each graduate as they cross. Keep attendees busy just like an effective teacher does to maintain control in the classroom.

The speakers at graduations are a formality. Most are very good, but if they get offended because the audience is talking, their stipend should help cover their anger. Also, it is not a very interactive speech if no one is listening. At one of my kid's graduations in McKinney, Texas, the principal did his whole spiel in English and repeated it in Spanish. Awesome! Graduation is not a funeral, it is a celebration.

What troubles me most is that the teacher who wrote in is so uptight and judgmental about something that he attends once a year. As his boss, I would visit the class regularly to make sure that his limited views are not spilling out during class. The world does not need any more judgmental people, just educated people.



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