Graduation Needs A Change

Shannon Sullivan and Charlotte Howe

The senior class of 2017 has had many things taken from them over their past 12 years of schooling. First came the loss of their beloved elementary school and middle school principals.  Then the lack of a Spanish program for all three years of middle school.  The class lost Mr Dolan, their band teacher who they only had for two years, compared to the usual four.  Our senior year we adopted a new schedule, changing all of our classes completely.  Spirit week was also different than the past couple of years, and senior privileges are practically non-existent.  The seniors no longer have free period in the cafeteria which is a major change since last year.  Most of the reasons why 12th graders enjoy being seniors have been taken away and not replaced.       

But, what if we could reward the class of 2017 with something that no class in the recent past has ever gotten.  Having graduation outside on the turf field could be the reward that they deserve: something new and special.  

Over the past years graduation has been in the lower gym, the most sticky, sweaty, and humid spot in the school.  Each child in the class has gotten six tickets for their parents seating, making the gym even more uncomfortable than need be.  With such a big class of 160 students, six tickets to each student will almost not fit in the lower gym, making having graduation outside a more reliable option.      

Having graduation outside would allow for anyone who wants to see the class graduate watch.  Any friend or family who desired to come would be able to fit in the stands to watch their loved one on their big day.  The stands would also allow for the band to have more room to move around and play their instruments.  

After speaking to many people in the senior class it has been concluded that most of the class would like to have graduation outside.  Every senior we spoke to told us that they either would prefer or wouldn’t mind a graduation outside.  Many teachers also think that an outdoor graduation would be a very enjoyable event as long as there is no worry of weather issues.

Many precautions can be taken for the worry of rain.  Because the chairs for graduation are set up the day before the weather report will already be out for the week, showing if outdoors will be a possibility.  There is no reason why indoor graduation cannot be our backup plan, especially many schools across Massachusetts do the same.  Peabody High School has had graduation outside for many of the past years successfully, with a backup plan of either having graduation inside or at a further date.  This is something that we could adopt at Ipswich.

The fear of rain has created an almost miserable experience for the observers of graduation. In June when this special day is closely arriving, if it’s predicted there will be rain, we simply can make a change of plans as the lower gym easily provides us with a backup plan. Although it most likely will be a warm day as we will be under the June sun, it doesn’t even come close to the hot, sweaty and crammed gym.