Issaquah High School does and will continue to recognize students for a wide range of achievements. The graduation committee’s decision to have students stop wearing cords and stoles at the graduation ceremony itself is just one change to our larger recognition
program. We have recognition in our written graduation program, we have school-wide, grade level, club specific, and sports specific recognition ceremonies all year including one for seniors that is open to all who wish to attend. In addition, staff members
write personal cards to students at each staff meeting, and much more. This recent decision from the committee was a direct result of concerning things that were happening at our school around the adornment at this particular event. The committee of staff
members who manage recognition and graduation shared some of their concerns to parents, students and staff to try to bring great minds together and craft a solution that everyone was happy with.
Like any decision a school makes, the feelings around adornment at graduation are divided. I’ve received both positive and negative feedback around this. I find in these situations, it’s best to take the discussion to the students, whose voices are most
important, and give them an opportunity to really digest the problem and recommend solutions. So, that’s exactly what we are going to do. This fall, members of the admin team, graduation committee and I are going to meet with small groups of seniors and ask
them the guiding questions below and try to come up with an authentic and meaningful recognition program that honors students from all grade levels. After these listening sessions, the graduation committee will reconvene and try our best to please as many
people as possible without sacrificing some of our non-negotiables. Below you can find our guiding questions for the small groups, the challenges we saw last year, and the non-negotiables the committee has.
Challenges we encountered:
Non-negotiables of a recognition program
The school is lucky to have thousands of incredible students who do incredible things during their time with us and are worth celebrating. I look forward to talking with seniors and working through this as a community.