8th grade graduation from middle school - not a big deal

Last night I went to my oldest child’s 8th grade graduation.  Everyone around us was making a huge deal about it.  Planning parties, dinners and grand celebrations.  They’ve purchased new dresses, suits and cakes.  Many have gotten the pre-ordered video and set up times for the professional photographer.  Had hair and make-up professionally done.

Am I so awful that I don’t see 8th grade graduation as that big of a deal?  Isn’t graduation from 8th grade a given?  Is it that huge of an accomplishment?  After going to lunch with friends yesterday, they couldn’t believe my cavalier attitude about the whole event.  I found myself apologizing over and over again… I’m sorry, but isn’t it a normal expectation to graduate 8th grade?  I’m sorry, but maybe it’s me that deserves the diploma for all the papers I’ve proofread and projects I helped put together at the last minute. 
This is the same kid I sat through pre-school and Kindergarten graduation.  To me, we’re setting our standards and expectations too low.  These are normal steps in the ladder.  Can we reserve the grand pomp and circumstance for reaching the top of the ladder?  I know I’m in the minority, but I think you go all out when something extraordinary happens.  Save the special for something special.  It reminds me of participation trophies for sports (a whole other topic).
I’m sure there were times middle school was hard.  Definitely emotionally and socially difficult.  I witnessed that.  Maybe there should be a “surviving the drama” celebration.
But was is really so difficult academically that we need to have an enormous party for reaching the end?  I can’t tell you how many times my 13 year old told me (around the times her grades were sent home) “Eighth grade doesn’t matter”
I just wonder if I’m being too cynical and harsh, or if eighth grade signifies the end of childhood and we should be marking it with a great big exclamation point.

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  • TOTALLY agree with you. We had the caps and gowns yesterday for graduation and all the fanfare beforehand--the fancy banquet. I know it's a big deal for the kids because they've been made to feel that way, but it's really not. I realize some kids (and it's few) will never see graduation from high school, but come on. Then one mom told me it really is an end for them, as they really don't see these friends in high school, classes, or otherwise. But they can still keep in touch via all this social media, right?

  • I agree Jill. I think it's okay for friends to have some get-togethers for fun but there's no need to be elaborate. And here's another question - when your child's friends have graduation parties, is he/she required to bring a gift? I've got mixed results.

  • Amen. I completely agree!

  • I am sorry, I don't agree! I am an 8th grader and when you are an 8th grader it is a big deal. We start high school next year! It may seem like some un-needed event but when you are the ones graduating into a new school you start thinking "Wow i have to raise my standards. Everything counts now." I mean a huge celebration is not needed, but it's ok to go to a family dinner at a place you don't usually go to, or get/make a cake and have a few friends and family members over for a small celebration.

  • I also agree, have some cake with family and thats all folks! Hair, makeup dresses...please, lets take it down a notch. We all love our kids and think they are great and special but a few parents go way overboard and then all the kids expect the same. I also agree that not everone on the team should get a medal or trophy....you need to earn it, work hard for it..kids need to learn how to be good at losing too, not only winning. Having a good time trying...that should be reward enough. Peace Out.

  • I disagree. You see at my school out of the 400 kids in my grade probably at least 50 are not graduating. It isn't a given to graduate middle school. Also, I don't know how it works where your from, but where I live we have to apply to different high schools and we all go to different schools so this is the last time that we will see most of them in school. I feel that getting into high school deserves a graduation. Now if you are in a middle school that is connected to the high school and you basically just go across the hall next year, I don't think it's that big of a deal.

  • In reply to daniel:

    Daniel, it should be a given to graduate middle school, although some kids are more academically challenged then others however it is still an accomplishment that shouldn't go unrecognized. Sorry, but I do agree with some other comments, the big celebration could be saved for High School graduation. A nice dinner with a celebratory cake seems to be a good idea for 8th grade.

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