Highlights of a Graduation Ceremony gone wrong

Graduation Day is the day students receive a diploma or certificate in recognition for their achievement of satisfactory completion of a course of study. It is an auspicious day when a student graduates from high school/ university and it is usually seen as a “rite of passage” for a student.

The unruly nature of this generation reared its ugly head again this week when the graduands collectively “forgot” and disregarded the rules and formality of this ceremony. In keeping with their “Far From Finished” graduation theme they continued to behave in an unruly and immature manner prior to and during their two hour graduation ceremony.

UNIVERSAL DOs and DON’Ts of Graduation Ceremonies


This ceremony is a formal occasion. Graduands are to wear proper uniform or they will not participate in the graduation ceremony. Parents are asked to dress in formal attire as well. Jeans, T-shirts, trainers, short dresses, short pants and other inappropriate attire are not suitable for graduation ceremonies.


Arrive on graduation day with green, blonde, red and blue coloured hair. The male students should not be proud of their long, unkempt hair coupled with skinny/penciled uniform trousers and the female students should not have fluorescent pink acrylic nails coupled with short uniform skirts. Similarly, parents need to understand that short, backless dresses and jeans are inappropriate for school functions but 70% of the guardians wore such attire.


Graduands and guests are expected to behave in a manner befitting the occasion. Any person who becomes disruptive will be asked to leave.


Disrupt the ceremony with loud outbursts during important speeches or when awards are being distributed to your fellow classmates.


Please ensure that all mobile phones are switched off for the duration of the ceremony.


Allow your cell phone to ring off during the ceremony, have some common courtesy to others! Also, please double check your device to prevent any unwanted ringing during the graduation.


Wherever possible, guests and graduands are required to remain seated for the duration of the ceremony.


Disregard the rules and proceed to the cafeteria to buy a sandwich because you are hungry or proceed to leave the hall and boisterously voice your discomfort about the heat when you live in a tropical climate.


Graduation is to be a respectful and joyous event. Family and friends should listen quietly to all speeches and refrain from shouting as names are called. Please be respectful of all graduates and their families.


Interrupt the certificate distribution with loud screams because other parents wish to hear their child’s name as he or she walks across the stage.


A graduation ceremony is suppose to be a reflective look back at your school life while somberly contemplating your future. It is a day of sharing final moments with your peers and showing parents your achievements (up to this point). Throughout the ceremony it was clear that these students were a product of their parents. Some parents were excited for their children, others were unsure about what comes next, while others were disconnected from this pivotal moment in their children’s lives. During the event, the Master of Ceremony actually interrupted the prize giving portion of the program to plainly tell parents that this is a key milestone in the students’ lives therefore it is important to be present for it.

The graduation was far from perfect but it came and went and I honestly believe the planning committees for this program did a great job but forgot to dot some i’s and cross some t’s. For example the hall in school is spacious, yes but require fans for the comfort of those attending the event, seating arrangements lacked in its consideration for all staff and the DJ was ill-prepared and did not conduct a thorough check of the equipment.

Commencement Speeches

The word “commencement” comes from the root word, “commence” which means “begin” but more importantly it is a verb therefore the word itself describes an activity, movement or journey toward a future that the graduands are responsible for creating. The skit above demonstrated (in a very hilarious fashion) that these speeches are written with nuggets of wisdom that the guest speaker wishes to impart to the graduands on their final day as students.

What I would say to the students provided that the setting was ideal and I had their full attention…

Two extremely important lessons:

1. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.

The fear of failure is a notion that grabs onto us so many times in our lives that we miss opportunities to do great things. We must never give in to an imaginary monster that grows only because we feed it, we all have the power to control our lives and with one decision we can tame our dragons and become master of them.

2. Take action. Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing that you’ve ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life.

Sitting around waiting for the world to hand you accomplishments, happiness or success is a waste of time. The soundtrack to your life is not “the Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars rather it’s “The Greatest” by Sia. Be active; be involved in writing your epic journey. Work hard and know that in the end the results were your doing not society’s or someone else’s. Actions may include researching your pursuits, moving to areas that hold the jobs, asking for recommendations for yourself or job openings, seeking opportunities to sharpen your skills and a host of other activities that make up your career-path. Moreover, everything you do must lead to some sort of fulfillment or contentment for your life; if not now, later on.


Jimmy Kimmel Live. 2017. A Message To The Class Of 2017 From Celebrities. Video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKWmm5BkvlU.

The WORLD Book Encyclopedia. 1995. 4th ed. London: World Book Inc.

Voice — Far From Finished (Official Music Video). 2017. Video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nV8_5SZFrI.