I LOVE the way that students graduate from the Gymnasium in Denmark because it is such a personal experience! Third year students have exams during their last six weeks of school and each exam brings them one step closer to graduation. The most anticipated day during the exam process is the LAST DAY... this is different for each student depending on where in the schedule her exam falls, but sometime during the last week of school she will have that last Oral Exam. This Monday was the day that the final leg of the process started for my two classes of 3rd year students. Both of these classes had Danish as their last assessment, so although I was not part of the actual exam with them, I was hanging out in the hallway waiting to see many of their BIG MOMENTS.
The way it happens at our school is that as the student is in the exam room delivering her oral presentation, her family and friends are gathering (quietly, of course) in the hallway. They typically arrive to the school with their cameras, bouquets of roses, and bottles of champagne and before they come to the exam room, they stop by and pick up the Graduation Cap for their student.
Once the student finishes the exam, she comes out into the hall to wait while the censor and teacher discuss her presentation and assign her grade. A few minutes later, the teacher brings the student back in and at that point, the family and friends get ready. Then that door opens one more time and the student walks out as a GRADUATE (or på dansk: "STUDENT"). It is at this point that the celebration begins.....JUST FOR HER! Take a look at how the process works:
Once the cap is donned, the family and friends head out into the common area of the school to celebrate in style. Champagne is poured, gifts are often given and lots more pictures are taken. It is truly a time to celebrate THAT INDIVIDUAL STUDENT's accomplishment after 3 years of hard work!
Some of my students received their caps on Monday, others yesterday, and then the rest will receive theirs today. And EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM will have the chance to be PERSONALLY CELEBRATED. Then on Friday, we have our actual school-wide graduation ceremony, which is actually quite similar to how we do things in the US... it is a day to celebrate the graduating class as a group. But no matter which day the student receives her cap, I can guarantee you that it does not leave her head until after the following weekend.... you can see the graduates all over town in their Gymnasium Caps for the next several days and it is a reminder to the entire town of what they have accomplished!
There is not a single thing about the Danish way of graduating our students that I dislike. I think it is an INCREDIBLE system that celebrates hard work and academic achievement!