Here's your trophy for attending kindergarten graduation!

Jun 06 2014 Published by under [Et Al], [Life Trajectories]

Last night I had the following conversation:

"Maybe we can take the girls out for dinner after the last day of Kindergarten for the Wee One."

"We'll have to eat early. Graduation is at 5:30."

"Why would we go to graduation? We don't know any of the kids in the oldest grade at the school."

"No, kindergarten graduation is at 5:30 on the last day."

"Kindergarten what?"

"Every grade has a graduation ceremony."


Seriously folks, is there anything more ridiculous than a graduation ceremony for Every. Damn. Grade? What could possibly be the point? Is anyone out there going "Well, Joey was really struggling with shapes this year, but we're so happy he was able to pull it up so he could walk across that stage with the rest of the kindergarten!"

You want to graduate high school? Great! Let's throw a damn party. College? Sure! I might even get you present! But Kindergarten graduation? Second grade? WHY? Isn't that called "cleaning out your locker for the summer? Isn't that all the reward a kid at that age needs?

And it's the culmination of two things here: The constant drum beat of one event or the other that has families stretched in every direction AND the apparent societal need to recognize every minor youth step with a piece of paper, plaque or trophy. My kids are 2 and 6 and already have a collection of awards and trophies the Lebron James would be impressed by.

I am all for raising confident kids. I want nothing more than for my kids to grow up sure of themselves with the feeling they can accomplish anything. But will they be able to separate real accomplishments from just showing up? I don't know, but here's a trophy for reading this far.

9 responses so far

  • MediumPriority4Life says:

    My third grader came home from school yesterday with two awards for the year. One was for her leadership club membership and the other one she did not even remember what it was for. I think these awards are made up by Dairy Queen, because we get a coupon for one free ice cream with each award, and Dairy Queen knows if a family shows up in their restaurant they will sell some grub.

    Lucky for us, no graduations are being held for 1st grade and 3rd grade.

  • crystaldoc says:

    I am with you, it gets ridiculous. At my kids' elementary school there is an awards ceremony for every grade.

    Some of the awards I at least get the point of-- maybe by giving the "Star Reader" award to every first grader that kept track of reading 50+ books, the teacher managed to encourage more reading at home, a good thing IMO and maybe not all kids get the encouragement that they should at home. Or having a presidential physical fitness program with awards may help to send a message that we the adults in our kids' lives value being active and working toward physical goals. On the other hand, the sheer proliferation of academic awards celebrating adequacy does seem to cheapen the real academic accomplishments.

    This trend of awards for participation and meeting the bare minimum has been growing for a while, at least a generation. I blame it for some of the problems I see in attitudes of many of today's college and grad students, who are not concerned enough with real standards of excellence and too easily contented with meeting the barest minimum of standards for adequacy. Maybe they have been poisoned by the low standards of the US public education system and too many of those certificates.

  • Amen. Our fifth grader just had his 5th grade Promotion Ceremony. I really like that our district does NOT call it graduation, and doesn't make a big production about it. You get to graduate for the first time when you actually GRADUATE from high school.

    There were some parents at the promotion ceremony with big "congrats graduate" balloon thingeys and I overheard some parents wishing that there were caps and gowns. And I thought, that's because they're not graduating. They're going to a different school for middle school next year. They're just leaving one school. Not graduating. Capiche? Of course, not, because I only thought it to myself and save my rant for this venue.

  • The saving grace this year was that they nixed the 3rd grade recorder recital during the promotion and awards ceremony.

    But yes, I miss the "good old days" when there weren't these ceremonies every single year. My sister had them-- I just got the tail end of the self-esteem movement in 7th and 8th grade whereas she got the full treatment.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I think the 4th circle of hell is a non-stop 3rd grade recorder recital.

  • Eli Rabett says:

    When Eli buried Mom Rabett, she still had some of his third grade award certificates and he was touched. Besides everybunny remembers the cookies after the award assembly. Don't be a poopy pants.

  • namnezia says:

    Just a way of formally marking transitions, I guess. But yes, the number of times parents are asked to go to some sort of ceremony, performance, recital, open house, special presentation, play or expo is pretty absurd.

  • Schenck says:

    I can kinda see the kindergarten graduation, but I hadn't heard that there was a graduation ceremony for each and every year now!
    I work at a community college, our associates degree should take two years, after which some of our students move on to complete their bacherlors in another two years. If they go to grad school, they could finish a master's in two years also. So between 5 and 25 they're just constantly having a graduation ceremony. Maybe we should start having a graduation ceremony after a PhD student passes their qualifiers.

    This is all the more laughable when you consider that the graduation ceremony, with caps, gowns, roll call, assembly of faculty, etc, is just and aggrandizement of what was originally an administrative task. Maybe in the future people will ceremonially dress in slacks and button-down shirts, sit at an official, ceremonial adjustable chair, and sing a song as they log-in to excel to transfer students names into the 'graduate' column.

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