Over the past couple of weeks we have witnessed a mother arrested for cheering too loudly for her daughter and we have also seen a young man denied his diploma because his guests cheered too loudly, but how should someone act at the graduation ceremony? Yesterday I read this wonderful article and I wanted to share it with you.
GUEST POST: By Caryl Davis of Milwaukee she works for Milwaukee Public Schools.
Knowing how to dress appropriately and how to demonstrate responsible behavior during promotion and commencement programs are not always understood and sometimes require reminders. Formal academic programs are steeped in tradition and history. Typically signified by the academic regalia worn by graduates from institutions of higher education, the mortarboard cap, gown and hood represent various levels of higher educational degree attainment. Promotion, graduation and commencement exercises are formal academic programs that must be honored. In honor of our students’ achievements, guests and participants should dress and behave in a manner that is suitable for the occasion. We can learn from the women of Spelman College. Spelman, Atlanta’s historically black women’s college, celebrated her 124th commencement on May 15. Missionaries Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles founded Spelman, originally called Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, in 1881. The college has a long, proud history of tradition and excellence, and Spelman women are to “present themselves neatly and appropriately at all times.” Similarly and according to the school’s Community Standards and Code of Conduct, Spelman students may not demonstrate offensive, threatening, violent or verbally abusive behavior. As representatives of Spelman and her long history of excellence, students are expected to wear appropriate attire for formal college events and occasions. Spelman’s strict White Dress Tradition includes wearing a white, modest, appropriate-length dress or skirt. Lycra, spandex, very high heels, flip-flops or revealing clothing are not allowed. We all know that promotions and commencements are exciting. Most everyone wants to give a little hoot when her or his loved one rises to receive her certificate. But promotions and commencements are shared community experiences where honor and dignity always have a place at the table. If one must hoot, do so with humility in mind. Hoot too loudly or for too long and you are likely interfering with someone else’s moment of pride. I know, you’re excited. I understand the pride that a parent feels for her child’s achievement. I understand the round-table tutoring sessions, the energy that must be mustered up from nowhere, the sacrifice of personal pursuits and the money that parents willingly supply in order to see their children succeed. But this graduation season, let’s prepare our children for excellence by showing them how it’s done. We don’t want them to be shocked and run scared when they look excellence in the face. We want them to be ready for all of the goodness that life has in store for them. Congratulations are indeed in order for our kindergartners and grade school promotees. We plan to encourage you by showing up with dignity and honor. And with every positive milestone you reach, we’ll put our best feet forward and encourage you to reach beyond promotion.
Remember, the best is yet to come.
Originally appeared JSOnline: Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel