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Opinions of Friday, 5 June 2015

Columnist: Eyiah, Joseph Kingsley

Graduation is growth that comes with responsibility!

By Joe Kingsley Eyiah, OCT, Brookview MS, Toronto

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats."-B. C. Forbes

The month of June brings to an end the academic year in most countries around the world. Around that time schools hold graduation ceremonies mostly for their final year students who are either moving on to high level on the education ladder or entering the working world. This June, I foresee the joy in the eyes of many parents who would be present to support their children on such memorable occasion during one's education journey known as GRADUATION.
Graduation is a benchmark of student achievement, and therefore it is NOT wrong to celebrate such success in grand style at every 'growth' on the educational ladder!
Others refer to graduation as 'the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the ceremony that is sometimes associated, where students become Graduates. Graduation ceremonies usually include a procession of the academic staff and candidates. Speeches are given at the ceremonies by speakers such as the heads of the institutions, renowned educationists, politicians and most importantly valedictorians chosen from among the graduating classes.
Another important landmark of most graduations is the theme selected for the ceremony. Each year, teachers and graduating classes work hard to get suitable themes. Such themes often describe the 'academic journey' of the graduating class. For example, the graduating class of my school has chosen as their theme: Characters Bring Colours to Your Black & White Story! Very interesting indeed! It vividly tells the story of the graduating class of 2015 at Brookview Middle School!!!!

Unfortunately, it is not always all the students of the graduating class who are promoted to the next level on the education ladder. Some are transferred. Students who perform dismally at the graduating grade and fail in their program are sent on to the next grade under the destination-transferred. The transition records on such students show vividly what is required to help such students to copy with learning at the next level.
In the United States, besides "commencement," the term "graduation" is also used in schools below university level such as the high school, middle school and even kindergarten and preschool ceremonies.
In Japan, graduation ceremonies are in March followed by entrance ceremonies in April. This coincides with the Japanese school calendar and the Japanese government fiscal year. Graduation is also related to the changing of the seasons and is often reflected in the ceremony decor and related advertising (i.e. new uniforms, backpacks, school supplies...).
In our motherland, Ghana, less or no attention is given to graduation ceremonies until one reaches the tertiary level of education.
Graduation! Graduation!! Graduation!!! To me as an educationist, graduation ceremonies officially mark the 'growth' that a student attains at different levels of his/her education journey. Graduates from Middle School and High School, in particular, should not be complacent of their 'growth' and rest on their oars as they journey on! Graduation is a 'growth' that comes with responsibility.
I take this opportunity to congratulate all graduates of 2015, especially my Grade 8-4 students of Brookview Middle School in Toronto. To God be the glory!