Graduations should be more inclusive

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

I’m trying to understand why so many high school and college graduates are being denied the privilege of having many of their family and friends allowed attendance to one of the most important events of their lives. Schools and universities are not booking venues large enough to accommodate many of the graduates’ families and friends. This relegates each graduate a limited number of tickets that are often for only immediate family. That can put a damper on what should be an exciting and much anticipated occasion.

Graduation is an event that has taken over 12 years. Everyone in the graduate’s life wanting to be a part of this most auspicious occasion should be able to attend it. Loved ones in the graduates’ life should be included. Grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins as well as special and supporting friends should be welcomed. Such an accomplishment should not be trivialized by limiting participation. This means that other venues other than the school gym or auditorium should be considered, especially if the schools’ seating is considerably limited.

Special attention should be given by graduating committees to fulfill the wishes of their graduates, especially when considering venues capable of meeting certain expectations. Some schools and universities have opted to break graduation into parts consisting of different buildings and times to accommodate large graduating classes. This practice may be somewhat untraditional, but it allows more room for graduates’ family and friends—as well as shortening the time for huge graduation classes.

Some graduations offer an overflow building or space with large viewing screens for those who don’t have tickets for the actual graduation.

However, many people (especially those who have traveled a long distance) may feel slighted if they can’t be in the actual room, seeing, applauding and shouting out to their special honoree. In honesty, graduation is not an event many want to see on screen in an isolated area.

In the final analysis, it is all about honoring the well-deserved graduates with the presence of those they love. The hard work and momentum of that particular event is only heightening when provisions are made, allowing those people to be there.