Graduation traditions


Deniz Karakus, reporter

Every year graduation is different and traditions change.

Dr. Terry Terhune, superintendent, explained how graduation has changed since 1988.

“The difference between now and then is that there used to be speakers invited to talk during the ceremony. This no longer occurs. The other difference is that the gym was not air conditioned, and it would be very hot, especially if you were sitting in the upper section of the bleachers. You would always see people using programs to fan themselves trying to stay cool,” Dr. Terhune said.

Mr. Todd Garrison, principal, announces that graduation is back to normal.

“We are back to normal traditions. Graduation will be in the main gym with the band playing music. Student speakers are back along with our most recognizable tradition which is the seniors choosing the teacher they want to handout their diplomas,” Mr. Garrison said.

Ever since COVID-19, each senior gets eight tickets for graduation.

“Before COVID-19, we didn’t have tickets, but to keep everyone safe and distanced as possible we are limiting each senior to bring in eight people which is why they’re getting eight tickets. We will have the WBN live stream graduation for those who don’t have tickets but still want to watch the ceremony,” Mr. Garrison said.

Mrs. Shelly Goodrich, administrative assistant, graduated in 1978.

“Graduation for seniors was different than it is now. Unlike now, the superintendent would give out our diplomas. We couldn’t choose a teacher like you guys could. We each got a rose, and we were able to choose our own motto. We had a baccalaureate; it is a separate religious ceremony where we had people giving speeches to encourage the seniors,” Mrs. Goodrich said.

Dr. Terhune remembers the baccalaureate.

“My graduation has the traditional ceremony as well as a baccalaureate ceremony that was held a few days prior to graduation. This was non-denominational ceremony celebrating graduates held at one of the local churches in Greenwood. We weren’t required to attend, but most people did go,” Dr. Terhune said.

Mrs. Sandy James, psych teacher, has been to many graduations and her favorite year is 2006.

“The year my son graduated was my favorite graduation because it was a little more emotional for me than it was any other time. I got to hand out my son’s diploma and his friends who I’ve known for years. That day I ended up giving out like 23 diplomas. I love handing out diplomas because it gives me a chance to tell kids how much I appreciate them and to show how important they are for me. One thing I love that they changed about graduation was shooting off confetti’s rather throwing their graduation caps because it was always a trouble for the kids to find their caps, and I think confetti is more fun,” Mrs. James said.