Congrats 2022 Grads


Time honored graduation traditions will soon play out across Wisconsin’s St. Croix Valley. Some ceremonies already occurred at colleges and universities, and those seem to arrive earlier and earlier. Many will recall when June was a time for grads and dads.

Regardless of the timing, graduation is a significant event – a so-called life event by some. Graduation? Commencement? Are they the same? Well, Google® says Graduation is the completion of all educational requirements; Commencement is the ceremony celebrating the completion of a degree.

Twelve years after entering first grade in the 2010-2011 academic year means a milestone arrived. A scary thought – 75 percent of an 18-year old’s life has revolved around education – starting with pre-kindergarten programming, then kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and finally, high school. Think of the teachers, recesses, lunchrooms, field trips, pop quizzes, finals, and hallway walks between classes. Hopefully the trips to offices bearing the word, Principal, were minimal.

What about graduation traditions? Google® came through again:

Cap: It’s also called a mortarboard, a square, previously having three or four peaks, linked to clergy and academicians. It was originally called a mortarboard because it resembled a mortar board used by bricklayers. At one time, only individuals earning master or doctorate degrees wore the square cap. Today, it’s universally worn by all grads.

Gown: The gown reportedly goes back to twelfth century at universities. With poor heating in the Middle Ages, scholars wore gowns to keep them warm.

Pomp and Circumstance (P&C): This song goes back to the early 1900s, and was modified to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII. When Edward received an honorary degree from Yale, P&C was played. It quickly became the tune for graduation processionals and/or recessionals.

Diploma: Yes, diplomas were referred to as a sheepskin because they were produced on very thin sheep hides. Parchment paper replaced this practice and then standardized sizes emerged.

Tassel: A tassel has been used for centuries. The tradition of moving it from the right side of the cap to the left side once a diploma is received symbolizes going from a candidate to recipient of a degree.

Cap Toss: The U.S. Naval Academy started the cap throwing tradition in 1912. Previously, grads of the academy needed to keep their hats as part of a two-year assignment as midshipmen. In 1912, Navy grads were immediately commissioned as officers, meaning they received new officer hats. The old hats were thrown into the air after the ceremony and the tradition quickly caught on.

Class of 2022, you’ve completed your graduation requirements and commencement ceremonies await. Remember this – commencement is a beginning, not an ending. A know-it-all may write or say the word ‘commence’ has its origin in Latin. . . blah-blah-blah. Let’s stop right there. Grads at any level have so much more to learn.

Good Luck Class of 2022! Here’s to the next milestone