Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Graduation Etiquette

by Lois Jamieson
At this time of year, you may be receiving graduation announcements from grandchildren, nieces, nephews and children of close friends. Here are some graduation etiquette tips for you and some personal stories.

Today’s senior classes seem to be quite large. The graduation ceremony often is held in the school’s football stadium. Last week, my husband and I attended our granddaughter’s high school graduation. We mistakenly thought the ceremony began at 7:00 pm, when actually it began at 7:30 pm. You might think that an extra half hour wouldn’t make a difference. That is true, unless you have arrived an hour early and are sitting on metal, backless stadium seats. And -- you are thinking about the cushy, portable stadium seats with backs that are at home in your garage.
Reading the program, I noticed a paragraph that read, “We encourage you to consider honoring the graduates as a total group. Your congratulations can best be shown by applause for everyone after the last graduate has been awarded his or her diploma.”
A good idea, I thought, but of course, no one paid any attention to it, whooping and hollering as each of the graduates received their diplomas. I didn’t see this as discourteous behavior, but as unleashed joy, pride and exuberance. I confess when our granddaughter received her diploma I whooped and hollered with everyone else.
Now a little advice about the graduation and gift giving:
1.      If you receive an announcement or invitation to graduation, it is polite to RSVP that you are or are not attending. This allows the parents of the graduate to save seats for you at the ceremony. If there is a party planned later, the parents need to know.
2.      You should arrive at the ceremony at least thirty minutes early. Usually you stand during the processional and recessional. If in doubt, watch the school staff.
3.      If you are the one sending the announcement/invitation, you should send it only to relatives and close friends.
4.      Buying a graduation gift is, of course, up to you. Inexpensive gifts can be sent or given, as well as more expensive gifts.
Here are some ideas for an inexpensive gift:
A picture frame – especially if the graduate is going on to college.
Note paper – especially thank you notes.
Tickets to a concert or movie
Dictionaries, thesauruses, How To Books
Concert or movie tickets
Silver bookmark
Expensive gift ideas – usually given by grandparents:
Money or stocks and bonds
A piece of jewelry
I’ll share what we have given all of our grandchildren. Our two grandsons received signet rings that they chose…and in one case designed. We gave our granddaughter a birthstone ring that she chose. We usually ended these shopping trips with ice cream sundaes. These were special moments with our grandchildren. We will always treasure them.
Want to learn more about etiquette? Here's a post you'll enjoy:  The Meaning of RSVP