Seniors Deserve Decoration at Graduation

Emma Truchan, Sports Editor

   Graduation is a time for celebrating accomplishments. It is the culmination of four years of tireless work in not only a student’s academic career, but also athletic and extracurricular, all leading up to one day. Yet, many students are stripped of the right to wear cords or other accessories that visibly display their achievements on this special day, because it is seen as creating an imbalance in the graduating class. If students put in the painstaking efforts it requires to achieve these successes, then they should be celebrated, and given the right to proudly receive their diploma adorned in these appropriate accolades.

   UC High’s current policy is that “Only members of the California Scholarship Federation [CSF] are allowed to walk with cords. This policy was implemented about seven years ago, and all requests since then have been denied,” said Principal Jeff Olivero. Olivero further explained that the UC High Site Governance Team [SGT] implemented this policy to maintain equity among students. But how does the policy maintain equity when one club is put above all others? How is this not a more extreme form of exclusion than allowing all school-sanctioned organizations to commemorate their graduating members?

   This unfair policy is particularly upsetting to students who have dedicated their high school career to their academics, clubs, sports, or other school-sponsored activities. Interact Club President Senior Lauren Stack stated, “I think that graduating students would feel that it is a bit unfair because CSF specifically is recognized, and this excludes all other interests and activities. Everyone has different passions and values, so I think everyone should be able to celebrate their successes, no matter what category they fall under.” The policy completely obscures the myriad of incredible achievements students have earned during their high school careers. The lives the students have led during their past four years deserve to be displayed in their final moments of high school.

   According to English Teacher Aaron Pores, “The ARTSTech Academy, the Advancement Via Individual Determination [AVID] Program, and some other organizations at UC High allow their graduating students to walk with medals [at their separate ceremonies].” These elective pathways and school-sanctioned programs are the pride of our school, but even students in these programs cannot be recognized. This not only denies students the recognition they deserve, but it is also a missed opportunity to celebrate their involvement in organizations that  make our school so special.

   “As a member of the Music Boosters, I think it’s horrendous that students who dedicate themselves to an organization like music or choir can’t even wear a cord. It’s understandable that SGT wants to maintain a certain level of decorum, but this doesn’t take away from that at all,” argued Chemistry Teacher Maureen Quessenberry. Allowing students to wear appropriate sashes, cords, or pins to express their individual accomplishments doesn’t tear down the decorum or visual aesthetic of a graduation ceremony, but adds to the ceremony by showing the diverse efforts of the students.

   Graduation isn’t just a class of students walking down an aisle to collect a piece of paper; it’s a ceremony commemorating the incredible feats of young adults over four years of high school. Students deserve to be celebrated for so much more than just meeting the requirements it takes to walk in the graduation ceremony. The current policy removes some of the joy that UC High students could feel and share on that very special day.