We wanted to take the opportunity to update everyone on the graduation committee’s decision regarding graduation adornment for the Class of 2020 and beyond.

At the end of May, Principal McCormick sent out a message to students and families regarding the discussions and decisions around graduation honors and adornments such as the removal of class rank and the addition of honor stoles and cords for achievements related to GPA, participation in clubs and sports, and PTSA’s community service cord.  Despite our best efforts to ensure that all students felt honored and recognized at graduation for their various achievements we came to realize that the addition of the various cords and stoles created added feelings of pressure and stress for our students, instead of feelings of celebration and pride.

The graduation committee recently met to discuss the same questions that we asked ourselves when we introduced the various honor cords and stoles.  After much discussion and reflection, we believe that we cannot create a system that will allow us to recognize all the incredible achievements our students have accomplished during their high school careers at graduation in a way that is both equitable and manageable.  We believe that the focus at the graduation ceremony should be the achievement of all graduating seniors meeting the graduation requirements and celebrating that accomplishment together as a class, not on the individual accomplishments each student made during their journey.  

Because of these reasons we have decided that there are more appropriate venues than the graduation ceremony to celebrate individual accomplishments and moving forward cords and stoles will no longer be offered or allowed at the graduation ceremony.  Students will still be allowed and encouraged to decorate their caps to celebrate where they are heading following graduation, display their achievements, or express their individuality.

We do feel strongly that it is important for the school, students, and their families to celebrate the various accomplishments students achieved over their high school careers and are working to identify and create opportunities for students and families to celebrate these achievements together.  We will be expanding our Senior Recognition ceremony that happens each spring to recognize more than just academic achievements and include achievements for things like extracurricular activities and community service.  Individual programs may still offer additional graduate adornment and while students will not be able to wear those at the actual graduation ceremony, we will encourage students to wear additional adornment at events like the Senior Farewell event and following the graduation ceremony for pictures.

We hope these changes will help us meet our goal of ensuring all students feel recognized and honored for all that they have achieved over their high school career.

Issaquah High School Graduation Committee