Ceremonies Don’t Make a Graduate [OPINION]
UPDATE: According to the Rapid City Journal the Rapid City Area Schools District has reversed itself and has announced that Meredith Erck will be allowed to walk in her graduation.
Just because you are well educated does not mean you are incapable of being stupid.
The Rapid City Journal reported that Rapid City Central High School student and cancer survivor Meredith Erck will be denied the opportunity to walk across the graduation stage with her twin brother on Saturday as he gets his diploma.
Meredith was diagnosed with brain cancer two years ago and as a result of the intensive treatments she was unable to keep up with her school work and is 6 credits short of graduating. She isn't asking for an early diploma, she just wanted to walk across the stage like all of the kids she grew up with are going to do.
Enter the elitist educators who live in a world where walking on a stage on a certain day is a high crime against those who are also just walking across a stage. The prepared and no doubt heavily analyzed statement issued on the subject of Meredith walking at graduation:
“The commencement program is meant to honor and recognize all graduates who have met the criteria set forth by the state of South Dakota for graduation and have earned their high school diplomas,” district officials said in a prepared statement to the [Rapid City] Journal. “If we grant one exception, we have opened the door to any and all future requests. High school administrators believe that allowing exceptions diminishes the accomplishments of the graduates.”
If high school administrators believe that Meredith walking with her brother as he gets his diploma diminishes his or anyone else's achievement I would question the intelligence of those in charge of that school.
Does any student get a lower grade point average if Meredith walks? Is anyone not getting into college because Meredith walks across the stage? No. Then how does it diminish the accomplishments of her classmates she was supposed to graduate with if it were not for cancer messing up her life?
Will anyone without a black heart in the audience think she is getting a free ride and somehow cheating the system by walking across that stage? No, but they might shed a tear and think about how they are grateful she is alive and thankful that they or their kids didn't have to go through what Meredith has gone through.
You don't have to attend the graduation ceremony to graduate high school. I checked. The South Dakota Board of Education does not require it. So why take such a hard line about something that contains zero academic value? It's just a ceremony. A celebration. It's a big deal to graduate, don't get me wrong, but the ceremony is not what makes the graduate. To say that Meredith walking takes anything away from the Central High class of 2017 is patently false and incredibly myopic.
The same dumb thing happened in Sioux Falls in 2006 when it took angry parents and nearly a student boycott of the ceremony the school board then changed policy to allow two Lincoln High students to walk without diplomas.
You know what's in the fancy diploma folder I'm holding in this picture below? Not a diploma. I got the diploma months later but I still walked in my college graduation. No one died because of it.