Friday, June 09, 2006

Class of 2005: Carroll High School Graduation

Carroll High School Graduation

My son graduated this year and his commencement exercise took place yesterday (6-8-2006). Things have changed quite a bit since I graduated. I learned afterwards that had he been unable to find a different/ “lighter” colored shirt, that both his grandparents, Aunt and his own family would not have seen him cross the stage to receive his diploma. Apparently there is a school requirement that all males wear a light colored shirt. My son had on a light blue shirt. Another requirement was that all males have a tie. Females were to wear a light colored or white dress.

Our neighbor across the street came in just minutes prior to the ceremonies beginning breathing heavily. She said her son had forgotten his tie. Another parent had spent hours trying to find a light colored or white dress and ended up paying a lot for it. Yet another was told to change her hair color. I did not know there was a dress code for commencement until after the ceremonies had taken place and we were half way home.

Having graduated in the mid 70’s during the height of streaking, long hair and different styles, I find it hard to believe that a school would prohibit a nicely dressed individual with tie simply because of the color of his shirt or the color of a dress. Individuality is key to our society and after seeing how individuality was made such a keen process of the ceremony makes the dress code really out dated. For example, when I graduated, it was by alphabetical order and the only distinction between those with honors and without honors was I believe in the tassel if that. However, with Carroll, they were seated by grade point average, then honors and then the rest. Carroll’s ceremony was much better than my own stale graduation. It was a very nice blend of music, lights and movement which was wonderfully different from mine

Did the color of a shirt make any difference? I did not notice they were nearly all the same color. In my opinion, the color of shirt makes no difference and neither does the color of a dress. Quite frankly the graduation gown covers over 95% of the graduates clothes and from 50 feet away I do not think anyone can really make out the color of clothing underneath or even notices.

So what is my real beef with Carroll? When we arrived at 5:50 PM, graduates were ushered to a different portion of the coliseum. It only makes sense to keep parents and graduates separated so that they can assemble the graduates efficiently. However, once this is done, it makes it virtually impossible for the graduate to find the parents if they need to go back home or make a change. In our case, our son could not find us. How was he to find a different lighter shirt in one hour? The Salvation Army has a store near by and my son ran to the store and bought a shirt. Luckily he had some money with him.

Therefore, Carroll should have inspected the graduates’ attires prior to separating parents from graduates and if a problem existed, it is identified and a corrective action recommended. I am told this is a Carroll tradition that dates back a long time. It is the first time I have ever heard of this tradition. It is one tradition that needs to be updated or at the very least identified in the student handbook and on the NACS web page.

I found this, this morning in the Carroll Communicator May/June 2006 on page 5 of 14.

It is very important that all seniors dress appropriately for commencement exercises. Seniors improperly dressed will not be allowed to participate in commencement exercises and may pick up their diplomas on Friday, June 9, at the high school guidance office.

Ladies: Dress preferably in a plain dress either white or a light color, but not a bright color. A plain skirt following the same color scheme and a plain white or pastel blouse would be acceptable. No slacks or pants. Shoes -dress shoes with strap on back, white or light color, but not a bright color, one to two inch heels, no casual sandals or flip flops. Cap, gown, and tassel (tassel right side. ) Purses and valuables should be left with your parents as there is no place to secure them and you cannot carry them with you.

Gentlemen: Dress in plain dark slacks, not jeans, a plain white or pastel colored shirt with a tie, dark socks and dark shoes (no gym shoes, sandals or flip flops.) Cap, gown, and tassel (tassel right side. )

General thoughts: 1. Carry your gown and put it on at the Coliseum. 2. Carry your cap and put in on at the Coliseum unless it must be pinned on. (Bring bobby pins with you. ) 3. DO NOT CHEW GUM.

With two students at Carroll, I never once saw this newsletter. Carroll High School needs to make a more direct effort in making sure parents are notified of this requirement instead of leaving it up to indirect communication. As an engineer, I deal with poorly worded documentation routinely. This dress code is not quantifiable and is subjective to the person who is inspecting the attire of graduates. After looking at many pictures taken as well as video of every graduate walking up the aisle, I find a large inconsistency in applying the dress code uniformly. The words light, bright and dark mean different things to different people. My son’s shirt I would say is a light colored blue or even pastel, but to the inspector it was not “dark.” My son’s friend had on a shirt that was nearly identical in color, yet was “passed.”

Graduation should be a happy day marking the end of 13 years of schooling and the transition to one’s next step in life. No one should be denied participating in ceremonies simply because of the color of their shirt or dress. Why hassle an individual on the last day?


At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the graduation, of course, went on with not one mention of the infamous Jeff Fraser. They pretend he is no longer existent, or even alive.

At 6:22 AM, Blogger William Larsen said...

Yes, there was no mention of Jeff. After hearing comments about Homestead's principal, I believe Homestead would have handled the situation much better and most likely the situation may not have even surfaced. But then my perception of Homestead is limited and I could be totally wrong.

At 8:56 PM, Blogger LP Mike Sylvester said...


I am not sure what to say.


Mike Sylvester

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Recent CHS Grad said...

As A recent CHS Grad, I feel I have some insight on the situation.

We were told over and over again by the Senior Class Sponsor Mr. Steve Pickett that this is an event that should be "classy". Because of its "classiness" all 363 graduates practiced the enterance into commencement twice, staing at graduation practice for well over two interminable hours.

Besides the asinine dress code requirements we were threatened repeatedly that, we may not graduate if we act up at commencement. We werent given our diploma's on stage when we shook the principal's hand, just empty holders. We were given them backstage, after the ceremony to make sure that there were NO disruptions. This (and much more) was done, all in the name of "classiness".

It angers me the absolute superficiality that Mr. Pickett has instilled in Carroll's Commencement Ceremonies. Situations are "classy" because the participants genuinely want it to be that way, and forcing students to conform to that level of rule through intimidation defeats his original purpose of making the event "classy".

I believe I can speak for many when I say, I did not like the event and am so glad that the interminable hell that is commencement actually ended.

I truly never wanted my graduation experience to be that way. T

At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Recent Carroll Grad said...

Another thought-

the Carroll Communicator (a excuse for alliteration, to be sure) is distributed in the student's seventh period class - my teacher made it optional to take home. I doubt that any student in my former classroom actually took one of those packets of paper home to their parents.

This letter was made this way to cut the cost of mailing the document to all student's homes.

A better way to cut the cost is to limit the information included. Besides necessary information (like that of prom or commencement activities), there was also two or three pages of "homework" or "how to do better on test" tips - asinine information that no one pays attention to.

The bureaucratic Guidance Department (which controls the Carroll Communicator puts way too much crap information in, and cutting out the pork in these letters could save the school on printer ink and paper.

It could also use some (gasp) capitalist tendencies and sell advertising to pay for it's distribution. I know of a few companies who would jump at the opportunity to advertise with 1600 families that are almost guaranteed to read this direct mail.

The guidance department's mismanagement of that newsletter is a PRIME example of a bureaucracy run amok.

At 2:02 AM, Blogger William Larsen said...

I would recommend "recent carroll grad" write the school board a short concise note identifying their concerns and lack of enjoyment with "their" graduation ceremony's. I recommend this so that others may know what is happening and not have to go through the same humiliating and classless ceremony. I have never before heard of such medieval type practices in a graduation ceremony before and I am sure I am not alone. I certainly intend to bring this up at school board meetings and will look at asking to meet with the principal of Carroll to find out who exactly is in charge of the ceremonies. I have four more who will be graduates later on and I certainly want them to have a fun and classy graduation ceremony. I believe the students/graduates should be involved with the planning of "their" graduation ceremonies.

The music was great, the candle vigil was great, but it is obvious the "fun" or "enjoyment" was staged by many students and not sincere.


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