Is this just me? Is this me having a ‘get off my lawn’ or a ‘back in my day‘ moment? Graduations should be for high stool seniors putting K-12 behind them and for college graduates. That’s it.

I have to take a day off work Friday because my daughter is “graduating” from 8th grade. She starts high school in September. So the middle school, just as they did for my son two years ago, is holding a promotion ceremony. (Okay, slight mitigation points for calling it that and not a graduation ceremony, but still.)

It’s a ticketed outdoor event with folding chairs on a huge lawn. It’s cap and gown. Which we had to pay for. It’s professional photography. Which we have to pay for. And it’s being held at 5 p.m. with speeches and honors and a processional. The works.

You know what we got when I “graduated” from middle school? Some advice from a surly teacher like, “Hey idiots, high school next year and sh#% gets real! Now get out of here.”

They’re doing this at even lower grades. Elementary schools are having promotion ceremonies to move on to middle school. Day care and pre-schools are doing legit cap and gown ceremonies for moving on to Kindergarten. Parents stand around teary-eyed talking about what big kids they’ve become. Are you kidding me? By the time these kids graduate high school some of them will have done this three other times. Aren’t we making their real graduation less special? Less meaningful? Aren’t we watering down the concept?

This sounds like a wholly American form of self-aggrandizement. But guess what? Here’s a BBC article on the subject saying it’s been happening everywhere. It’s being done throughout Europe as well as the Far East and the Middle East. Has the whole world gone insane? Are we celebrating mediocrity now? Giving out halfway awards and just starting out ribbons? Is that where we’ve come?

My daughter is a straight A student and I’m very proud of her hard work. That being said, get off my lawn.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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