SEONGNAM, CHEONGJU, DAEGU, Feb. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – In the midst of a mid-February stretch when graduation ceremonies nationwide are seemingly held every other day, students, parents, and educators are taking pains to commemorate youngsters’ achievements in creative and beneficial ways.
A visit to one graduation event at an elementary school in Gyeonggi Province revealed an atypical sight; a 20-odd number of sixth grade graduates in full hanbok (Korean traditional wear) garb prostrating themselves in the traditional manner before a bowl of water with floating flower petals. According to school personnel, the bowing students had each in turn poured out a cup of water with the petals into the bowl, and their bow was meant to call upon a blessing for their future selves.
This curious sight is but one example of an “out with the old, in with the new” theme that appears to be taking root across schools, at least for graduation ceremonies. Rather than resign themselves to the usual lecture hall gathering, a speech by the school principal and the handing out of diplomas, schools are showing a willingness to exercise their creativity.
From a school principal who decided to swap out a speech for a standalone saxophone performance (including the song “I Can’t Stop Loving You”) at an elementary school in Paju, to a screening of a short film produced by students at an Ansan school, curious sights are on their way to becoming the new normal.
A Gyeonggi Office of Education official said increased “democracy” and autonomy of schools have been the impetus in the widening diversity of graduation ceremonies.
Despite the feel-good vibes during the ceremonies, what happens after is a concern for many educational authorities.
For the graduating classes of middle school and high school, graduation ceremony “afterparties” can end up turning into nightmares of humiliation and abuse.
Police in Daegu and North Chungcheong Province have issued a reminder that actions such as throwing flour and eggs at graduates, stripping them of their clothes and filming them as they are forced to perform certain activities, as well as other forms of hazing, will be strictly punished.
The Office of Education for North Chungcheong Province previously ordered the schools within its jurisdiction to implement a safe and healthy graduation ceremony environment.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)