Is It Just Me? or Have People Gotten Carried Away?

Updated on June 07, 2012
L.M. asks from Hartly, DE
27 answers

I remember being in school and having "end of year" recognitions (like for math, science, etc). When my son was in school it was the same way (he graduated in 2009). I have a 5 year old daughter who "graduated" preschool last year but was not old enough to start K so she was in Pre-K this year. While they are not doing a "graduation" most likely because they are a Pre-K through 8th and they do 8th grade graduation, some schools do...mostly those that are daycare/preschools only. Area schools also seem to be doing kindergarten graduations and even 8th grade but now I have recently heard that they are doing 4th grade graduations too. A relative called me the other day to say she had been invited to attend the 4th grade graduation of a young boy (she's close to him) and wanted to know what you get as a present. I don't get the wide use/celebration of "graduation" for all these grade levels. I get the preschools because they are really celebrating starting K/school (but people are even going overboard for that). I do understand congratulating a successful school year, hard work, good grades, etc but I don't see it as justifiably a "graduation" event. What are your thoughts?

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So What Happened?

Not really a SWH but just wanted to say, I do realize that every area and/or school is different and I definately believe in recognizing/celebrating a child's growth and hard work...I just think that having the ceremonies and over the top celebrations (girts, parties etc) is too much for every grade.

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answers from New York on

Graduation is from high school and college. By then you have earned the
right to wear a cap and gown. Elementary to middle school we went out for
lunch to recognize moving up. Same for middle school to high school.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

It's like that with a LOT of things I've noticed. And honestly, I think it's setting kids up for disappointment later in life when their boss doesn't throw them a party for completing a project.

Don't get me wrong, I praise my children when they do well and celebrate their accomplishments.....just not with huge, over-the-top parties and gifts. I want them to try hard and accomplish things because it makes THEM feel proud of themselves....not because they'll get a present if they do.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Growing up we had 6th grade graduation (K-6 elementary), 9th grade graduation (7-9 Jr High) and finally from high school (10-12 high school). We moved to a different school district the summer before I started 10 the grade. My brother had an 8th instead of 9th grade graduation because the new school district was 9-12 high school.
But basicly when you were leaving one school to go to the next level school you had a graduation.
I don't personally see the reason for having them for every grade but if you really want one I don't see the harm in it either. It's harmless.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Redding on

My youngest will be a senior in high school next year and to me, that is graduating. And, graduating college.

I have co-workers who are taking the day off because their kids are graduating kindergarten, graduating 6th grade, graduating the 8th grade. They are taking the whole day off for these events. I'm sorry, but I don't get it.

I'm a mother, I love my children just as much as any other mother, but having to take a whole day off because family is coming to town for a kindergarten graduation just seems like a bit much for me. My own mother didn't go to my son's 8th grade graduation because she lives an hour away and had to be at work at 6am the next morning. It's not that she didn't care, but she will be there with bells on when he graduates high school.

I mean no offense to anyone who really takes these things seriously and to heart, but buying a new dress and getting hair professionally done or buying new clothes and shoes on top of mom getting a new outfit for kindergarten or 6th grade just seems over the top. 8th grade, I can see making a bit of a fuss about because it signals the beginning of high school, but when I was a kid, we didn't even have a ceremony for that. We had an awards assembly which parents were welcome to come to but there was no pomp and circumstance.

I like my coworkers and I even love their kids, but all of this hitting at the same time is leaving us very short staffed for several days in a row due to people who need an entire day to attend and celebrate these things like it's the Queen's Jubilee or something.

Milestones are great and wonderful, but there's a milestone every day if you think about it. It's bad enough that by the time kids turn 16 they expect a driver's liscence, a car with paid insurance, and a full gas tank just because they turn 16.

I better quit before I make somebody mad unintentionally.
I agree that some things are over-celebrated, but to each his or her own.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I guess where we live people haven't gotten quite as carried away as some of the other parts of the country.. ?

Here, it is the same as when I grew up (30 or so years ago)... You graduate from kindergarten. You wear a cap/gown and mom spends time doing your hair. There are pictures and the kids dance, etc. It's almost like an end of the year "show" for the parents. The kids get certificates for graduating K. The end.

Fast forward to 12th grade. End of the year, you meet all the requirements, you wear the cap/gown, you walk, you receive your diploma on stage, you go out to dinner with the family. You go out with friends after that. The end.

It reminds me of Tom Hanks in "A League of Their Own" ("..There's no crying in baseball!...")...
I want to yell: "There's no "graduating" in 4th (or 5th, or 8th) grade....!"

I agree with Jim. It is too much like the PC way athletics are done anymore... EVERYbody is a "winner".

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

It goes hand in hand with organized sports, EVERY kid gets a trophy... really..?!?! Even the losers... yeah, your kid didn't win so he lost, he's on the losing team. My kids have been there, this world has become way to PC.
Shane B, I'm right there with ya.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Champaign on

I think the "graduations" are because it is the last grade at that particular school. It's just an excuse to celebrate. People need reasons to celebrate. Parents need reasons to get together. Teachers like have a reason to have a ceremony and celebrate education.

Some parents will choose to have a party. Some will decide to have a nice dinner together. I think it's wonderful! Aren't we really celebrating education? If you are invited and can attend a 4th grade graduation, get a card and put a $5 or $10 bill in it. It's just a nice token and will hopefully encourage the child to continue to work hard in school.

We all need reasons to celebrate! This seems like a great one to me.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

After reading a lot of the answers, I am feeling pretty grateful.

Next Monday our son has a 'flying away' ceremony at preschool. All of the children who won't be returning next fall (either moving or moving on up to K) will receive silk scarf wings and fly away. (This is in conjunction with the ending of a chrysalids/butterfly unit... )

Other than that, he'll go to a K-8, so no extra graduations other than 8 and high school. I'm not trying to be a party pooper, I just wonder-- if they aren't moving into a new school, is it really necessary? To me, I'd rather it be a seldom-celebrated event to keep it special. When I was a kid, you just moved on to the next school and good luck to you. Passing/finishing a year of school wasn't a reason to throw a party in my family-- it was just an expected part of going to school.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Although I am forced to go to these celebrations for my kids I would slap any family member that gave them a gift.

My older two had eighth grade graduation, something I had never heard of. Turns out it is a Catholic school thing here since the kids go kindergarten through eighth and then scatter to the Catholic high schools. Makes sense, we celebrated with the rest of the school, no gifts needed!

My younger two are 11 and 13 and have graduated more than I have and I hold a masters. :p So yes, completely out of hand! My youngest just had her fifth grade graduation. There were boys in suits girls in formal dresses. Dads with huge bouquets of flowers far bigger than what I got my older daughter for her college graduation this year!

It is freaking crazy!!!

I stick to my assertion that if an employer wouldn't be interested it isn't a graduation.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

There does seem to be a shift.

Our preschool had a party on the last day, families invited, with food and drinks, no graduation "ceremony" but the kids did come together and sing a beautiful song.
Kindergarten also had a party, but the only parents there were the ones who signed up to help out. Again, no ceremony.
5th grade (end of elementary school here) had an assembly, slide show, etc. It was for the STUDENTS (all grades) and teachers/staff only and yet the typical busybody parents showed up anyway.
8th grade here DOES have a graduation (complete with speeches and HUGE party and dance afterward.) Only our immediate family went to that, we didn't invite extended family and didn't give any gifts. I find it really silly, honestly it's a promotion, not a graduation.

Now, my BFF has kids a bit younger than mine. Mine are 19, 16 and 13, hers are 9 and 6. Her kids have had full on preschool AND kindergarten graduations complete with caps and gowns, awards and certificates, followed by flowers and/or gifts from grandparents and a special lunch or dinner out! They also have HUGE over the top birthday parties.

Oh, and my district is actually much wealthier/higher achieving than hers so it's not a money thing.

My friend just loves it. To her it is perfectly normal. It's so funny because even though she and I are the same age we really belong to a different parenting generation!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I agree !

There should be a small "stepping up" celebration for Pre-K, a graduation for 8th grade and one for HS.

That's plenty for me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

While I'm all for celebrating transitions within schools, I do agree with you. It's one thing for the kids to have a little celebration when they move one from one stage to another, but it's BEYOND ridiculous for that celebration to continue at home and for parents to throw a party, give gifts etc. Ludicrous.

My kids all went to daycare and because many of the kids spent 5+ years there, literally since infancy, the center made a big deal out of graduation because that is a huge transition, and it gave the teachers a formal way to celebrate, let go of their "babies" and send them on their way knowing that they did a wonderful job shepherding these kids through major milestones and getting them ready for Kindergarten. Pre-school (my kids did a few days of daycare and a few of pre-school) was a much smaller celebration that gave the families, kids and teachers time spend together and say good-bye but it wasn't "graduation." I can maybe see a Kindergarten "graduation" (although my school district doesn't do that) and possibly 8th grade in a K-8 school where the kids all go to different high schools, but really, the only real Graduations that should include parties and gifts are high school and college. Anything other than that is for students, teachers, and immediate family. There is no reason to throw a party or buy gifts for someone graduating from pre-school, K, 4th 5th, 6th or 8th grades.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I was military and went to umpteen schools. In general:

Every transition had a graduation: k, of course... The the last year of ELementary (which was 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, or 8th depending on the school). Then middle school/ jr high (7th, 8th, or 9th depending on the school), then 12th for highschool.

I 'lucked' :P out in being the top class about 6 times (ceremonies irked me, ADHD+sitting for 3 hours while people walk is boooooring). Ond of my sisters ONLY 'graduated' K & 12th. My youngest brother graduated almost every year.

Back 20-30 years ago? Some people/families went all out, some didn't.

So from my perspective, things haven't changed overmuch... It's just that as an adult Im more aware of the hassle involved ;)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

I have never given grad gifts for anything below high school. I certainly would go if invited, but no gifts. My kids had daycare/preschool grad ceremonies (which were cute things - no pomp and circumstance) and then there was going from elementary to middle school, (a little more pomp and circumstance that I played the piano for in one of them) and then going from middle to high school (which was a lot of pomp and circumstance. The pianist was awful - wish I HAD played for them!) We went out for ice cream after one of them.

Each one of these was moving to different schools because elementary and middle school are separate from each other, and of course, high school is by itself as well. I can't figure out what's up with that 4th grade graduation you're talking about, though.

I will tell you that I still remember at one school my kids attended, a woman walking around bragging to everyone who would listen, how many parties her son was invited to go to that day (this was 6th grade graduation). She knew darn well that these women's children weren't invited to these parties. She was such a jerk and it hurt so many feelings. And of course, she didn't care.

I have always remembered that and have chosen not to give grad parties for any graduations until high school graduation.

So yes, I agree with you on not making these younger milestones an "event".


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I am lucky in that I only graduated from high school and college. I only sent out announcements for high school. Didn't see the need to send them out for college. We did have a 5th and 8th grade ceremony when moving on to the next school, but it was basically a speech by the principal and a couple of teachers, a couple of awards were handed out, and that was it. Everyone's name didn't get called, no one had to go on stage, except for the award getters, and we were out of there in less than an hour. In high school they did an awards ceremony every year at the end, but only the people getting awards were invited, so that kept it pretty small.

I like how my son's preschool did their thing this year. They gave out diplomas, but didn't have a ceremony or graduation. And the diploma was simple. While I think the K sized cap and gowns are cute, it's a little much. I really don't think a gift/party is necessary unless it is a high school or college graduation.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I had an 8th grade graduation and that was back in the 80's. I remember it because that is the only time my parents were together without my step parents. I don't know why they do pre-k, K or 4th grade graduation. I think kids should have a graduation from HS and college and that’s it.

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answers from Chicago on

I couldn't believe it when a friend told me her daughter had preschool graduation. She has another year of preschool to go. I kind of get 8th grade, I get HS, but the rest of it? Ridiculous.

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answers from Minneapolis on

The only graduation we do here is from High School!

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answers from Phoenix on

DD just had her Kinder graduation, and I thought it was ridiculous. I mean, what are they going to do? Have a graduation ceremony every year? I thought Pre-K to Kinder was the official first big step. After Kinder comes 1st grade, in the same school, with the same kids, no big deal, in my opinion. I get 8th grade, high school, and college graduations, but there are so many rewards, awards, acknowledgments, that it's getting a bit generic.

It brings to mind the movie "The Incredibles", in which everyone was special, if they were lazy & didn't put forth any effort & the kids that were extra talented had their achievements completely diminished.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I agree it's too much. We have Pre K, K, 5th grade and high school. (5th is the end of elementary)

What's strange is no 8th grade graduation. There's an awards ceremony which anyone can attend but only about 15% of the class that is receiving an award is invited. It's followed by a dance for 8th grade students.

I guess each school system has their own way of doing things

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

4th grade graduation seems awfully random to me. Pointless as well. It's not like eons ago, when maybe 6th or 8th WAS the last year of school for some kids, who would not be going on to further schooling. But, these days? I thinks it's over the top.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I agree! I am okay with calling a Jr. High/Middle school "Promotion" a "graduation", but certainly not for lower grades. Celebrate yes. but not a "graduation".

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answers from New York on

to me graduation is usually when u move on to another school (building). for kindergarten we had a "promotion".. nothing big our class sung a few songs in the auditorium and made our own little graduation hats.. the shchools around here are k-6 then middle school is 7&8 and highschool is 9-12.. so ive had 6th, 8th, and highschool graduation ceremonies.. but honestly i feel like the 6th and 8th were probably not really necessary, highschool is the big one

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

My kids had prek grad and then they will have 5th grade , 8th grade and 12th , if they stay in public school. With everything that's going on lately we may home school starting with my oldest in 6th.

I do think it's ridiculous.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

We had a Pre-K graduation (military post daycare/preschool) and then had a Kindergarten graduation (public school). You say your school is Pre-K through 8th grade & they do an 8th grade graduation. The school that is holding the 4th grade graduations, are they a K thru 4th school? If so, then they must be kinda like the 8th grade - moving up to the next school.

Schools around here can be K thru 5, K thru 6, or K thru 8. Just depends on the school system and how they need to split kids in certain areas.

I think the school my daughter just graduated Kindergarten from (K thru 6 school) used to have 6th grade graduation, but I heard they are no longer doing K or 6 graduations.


answers from Kansas City on

When my daughter completed KG, they have an end of the year play, and awards ceremony in her classroom. It was not a graduation, it was the play and her teacher gave each student a certificate like "100% attendance"...most respectful...

I remember getting those types of certificates in school. They worked hard on that play and it was so cute. After end of 1st grade...there was no "celebration" for parents.

Personally I think the pre-s, kg, pre-k,8th grade graduations are for the parents not the kids.

However, I do like acknowledging those kids with certificates to bring home.

Our elementary schools only go to 4th grade, so the school did a all school assembly, then the 4th graders apparently "walked the halls to say goodbye"...I get that. Parents didn't need to be there for that.


answers from Philadelphia on

Ha my daughter left preschool a few weeks early to save money so she didnt have a graduation and now she's in K and they didnt have the father/daughter dance, mother/daughter one or any formal cute events and no graduation since it goes from k-2nd---I have to say I';m a little bummed. I wanted to see her tiny and in a cap and gown for memories=) I wouldn't throw a party or anything, but I would invite the grandparents to lunch if she had one.

We had 8th grade graduation because I went catholic and it was k-8th and then you split and go to various high schools so it was the last time many of us were together. We didn't have a party or get gifts but the class celebrated together. Then we had the hs graduation and parties that went with them that you got gifts for.
I think as soon as you run out of grades at a particular school they consider it graduation to graduate to the next school...I wouldtn think gifts were needed though!

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