My niece graduated from eighth grade at St. Joseph’s School a few nights ago. It was a lovely ceremony that included a Catholic mass, music and the awarding of the diplomas. Unlike any other graduation I’ve ever attended, the teachers at St. Joe’s say something about each student when he or she receives their diploma. They described personal traits as well as funny things about the person.
One young boy was walking up to get his diploma and the teacher, who was describing him, said that “he must have missed the day in class when the teacher taught them how to use their indoor voice.”
The night was also full of honor and admonitions for the students.
“You can do what ever you choose.”
“Pick the right path rather than the easy path.”
“Remember your priorities.”
At the very end of the ceremony, there was a twist in the event that gave me pause. The students were dismissed to a standing ovation from the crowd. Then, the students formed two lines on either side of the aisle leading to the exit door. After the last student fell into place, all of their teachers walked through this student “hallway” while the students applauded them.
It was very touching and a wonderful reminder of the importance of the teachers who, day in and day out, work to give students what they need to be successful in the world.
Graduation is about the students. But we must also remember who helped them get there in the first place – the teachers.
St. Joe’s showed us how to do graduation well.