Monday, June 6, 2016

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation

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From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions

Last week was Grad Week for our homeschool, so we were busy with the rehearsal and preparations, and then with the big day itself. We will be receiving a collection of pictures from the photographer later on, but in the meantime I have some that a friend and I were able to grab.

A few weeks ago, I shared some of our planning process for the grad ceremony (see: From the High School Lesson Book - Planning for Grad), so this is kind of the follow-up to that.

All the planning meetings and prep work come together at the rehearsal night, which we have a day or two before the ceremony, depending on the schedule at the church facility we use. This year we had a larger class (12 students) so we had the use of a larger church than the one that sponsors our homeschool umbrella group. At the rehearsal, we go through the entire ceremony a couple of times, to make sure the grads, the parents, and everyone else participating knows what they're supposed to do, when they're supposed to do it, and where they should be. 

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions
We had five students accompany the worship music this year. (Landon is at the drum kit,
hidden by the cymbal!) Photo credit: L.S.

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions
Rehearsing the presentation of the Class of 2016 - right before they toss their caps!

Most of us set up our photo and award displays for our grads at the rehearsal. I didn't even have ours completed for the rehearsal, so I brought it all the night of the ceremony.

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions
Still need a couple wallet size photos to complete this.
Many of the pictures shown on the trifold were also included in the slideshow we have as part of the ceremony, which features a photo series of each grad along with a clip of music of their choice. In addition to the trifold of Landon's pictures, we displayed the diploma we've awarded to him (the one that came from HomeschoolDiploma.com for us to review - Read our review here: Diplomas for Homeschool Grads), a framed senior portrait with a mat that can be signed with congratulatory messages, a Senior Portrait folder with the portrait and his grad announcement (also from HomeschoolDiploma.com), and a banner awarded at a Civil Air Patrol encampment.

We follow the rehearsal with a potluck dinner for the grads and their families.

Finally, the big day arrived! Grads needed to be at the church an hour before the ceremony started for pictures and preparation, and I asked the musicians to be there a bit earlier than that so their instruments could acclimate a bit before we tuned them. The photographer is a lady from our homeschool group, so she's usually acquainted with the grads, and she does a great job getting them set up for group and individual photos, and is willing to do family photos as well. And she doesn't mind at all if some of the parents (like me!) grab some pictures over her shoulder during the group portrait session!

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions
These guys. I know they are proud of their new ties, but they will need to go
INSIDE the gown.
From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions

Getting the caps to stay on is usually a bit of a chore. We got to wondering why it's traditional for graduates to wear a cap and gown, and decided to research a little over the weekend. My friend quickly found an article that explained this and other grad traditions, which saved me a little time! (You can read the entire article here: Graduation Ceremony Traditions and History) Here's what we found out about the cap and gown: The use of the gown started in the 12th century, when scholars needed to stay warm in unheated universities. They started wearing long robes with hoods. It became traditional for males to wear a gown in the school color, while females wear white; however, there are many variations. As you can see, we have all our grads wear our "school color" of royal blue. The traditional cap started around the same time period, and is called a mortarboard because it resembles the mason's tool. In the 14th and 15th centuries, these square caps - usually in red - became popular with artists and students, and represented superiority and intelligence.

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions


From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions

Photo shoot done, and the grads head inside to await the procession. This year we had the brother of one of our grads playing the prelude and recessional music, and the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance" for the processional. This piece was written by Sir Edward Elgar in 1901, and the title is from a line in Shakespeare's Othello. In 1905, Elgar received an honorary doctorate from Yale, and his composition was played. Princeton and Columbia both chose to play it at commencements as well, and it quickly became associated with the graduation processional or recessional.

Our ceremony, like many, includes an opening prayer, a commencement address from a speaker nominated by the students, and an address from one of the graduating students. Our emcee is nominated by the students as well, and this year we had an alumnus of our homeschool group fill that role. Other years it has been a parent or co-op teacher or pastor. Our ceremonies also include a powerpoint slide show, as I mentioned, that features photos of the grads and a musical selection they choose. That's always an interesting glimpse into the personalities of the students and their families, as we see the type of photos chosen and hear the music. Another unique part of our service is that we incorporate a brief time of worship, with a couple of worship songs or hymns chosen by the students. For the past several years, we've had the students lead the music, and this year we actually had a small band formed by the graduates.

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions
Again, Landon at the drum kit behind the cymbal. Photo credit: L.S.
Since it is the parents who have taken the responsibility for education, it is the parents that present the diploma and turn the tassel for their grad. Here's my grad giving me the obligatory (but I think heartfelt) hug after I presented his diploma. Dad is awaiting his turn, when he gets a handshake and maybe a hug, and he turns the tassel. The use of a tassel on the cap is perhaps 50 years old. It was originally a decoration, but the gesture of moving it from the right to the left after receiving the diploma is also symbolic of the movement from candidate to graduate.

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions

At last, after all students have received their diplomas, we have the closing prayer, and then the grads are invited back up to the platform and the emcee presents them as the Class of 2016 . . .

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions

and they toss their caps to the applause of their families and friends. The throwing of the cap is a tradition begun in 1912 by graduates of the Naval Academy. Prior to that year, graduates of the academy were required to serve two years with the fleet before being commissioned as officers, but the class of 1912 was commissioned from the time of graduation, and received their officers hats. Since they no longer needed their caps, the grads tossed them in the air without concern of getting them back, and a tradition was quickly born. 

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions

From the High School Lesson Book - Graduation on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - What our group's commencement exercises are like, and a little history about some grad traditions


I hope you learned something new about graduation ceremony traditions along with me! Which of these traditions does your family or homeschool group include in commencement exercises? Leave a comment and let me know; and please link up your posts about homeschooling high school here. Visit your neighbors and leave some encouraging comments!

If you're homeschooling through high school and have not yet joined the Blog Roll, please take a moment to do that as well.

Now that it's June, I've moved From the High School Lesson Book to Mondays. For now I'll continue to post every week, but I'm not sure that will happen all summer, since we won't be doing full-time school throughout! If you have a suggestion to increase participation, especially once most of us are back to school in the fall, or to get the word out to others who are homeschooling through high school, please let me know.

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2 comments:

Wendy @ Ladybug Daydreams said...

What a special time, Kym. Congratulations to you and your graduate!

At Home where life happens said...

What a wonderful celebrations. Congratulations! - Lori

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