What Will You Be Wearing at Graduation?



Every senior wants to wear as many cords as possible, but they may not be wearing as many as anticipated. How many will you be wearing at graduation? Photo from https://www.honorsgraduation.com/honor-cords.htm?gclid=CLvZvO_T_NICFUi4wAod6qYAdg#honors-cord-colors

Bella Angell, Staff Writer

The North Forsyth High School graduation will be noticeably different in 2017. It may not be apparent at first, but the seniors will know something is missing. Certain colors will not be visible outside the graduation gowns; the missing colors will be those of the various service club cords draped around the necks of North seniors. The cords worn will only be those of academic honor societies and certified academic organizations, such as Career Technical Agricultural Education (CTAE).

The Forsyth County high school principals gathered last spring and made the decision that cords worn by students for graduation would only be allowed for certain academic organizations. While North was spared this change last year due to a new principal, most Forsyth County high school students were very unhappy with the decision and the late notice given to seniors at the beginning of May. The frustration came from students who had invested their time in several community service organizations, and what they understood was that the cord was a type of reward for committing their time and effort to their community in addition to their academics.

The flip side of this decision is that the cords are now more admirable in a way. Those different colors mean the student’s commitment to a club or organization has been measured academically. The student must have completed a certain number of years or held a certain grade point average in a specific subject or time period. This makes the cords more of a coveted award than just the “bling” status and to look like all the other students.

One has to wonder why this decision was made- surely the powers that be want our students to participate in community service in Forsyth County. Was the decision made thinking it would raise the bar of the graduates of Forsyth County Schools? Maybe students would try harder in their academic and career pathway organizations if the requirements meant a graduation honor cord. Were there students who were abusing the privilege of cords for graduation? Did students join a club and not fulfill their obligation or only participate their senior year for the benefit of wearing a cord for graduation?

Maybe there should be a change in how clubs are governed in Forsyth County and more specifically at North Forsyth High School. One idea might be to have a way to reconcile club membership and participation requirements. Have each club advisor turn in a report documenting community service hours for each student. These could be added to the student’s official transcript, which would also help document a student’s efforts for colleges and the application process. This might be a better way because if a student has a lower little lower grade point average or SAT/ACT score, their club or community service organization volunteerism might be stellar. Documentation by the school would also show a commitment by the county that teaching our students community involvement is important to the well-being of our local area and its future. This would also encourage the direct involvement of community leaders with our students. Many clubs are training clubs set-up for transition into major service organizations sponsored by business and community leaders. North Forsyth High School and the Forsyth County school system depend on many of these leaders for their support of our schools.

The 2017 graduation will be unlike those in the past. The North Forsyth students can hope the change will lead to something better for the future. It will depend on many things, such as how the information is shared with students and their parents, what the thinking was behind this new restriction and how will the administration encourage students to have a heart for community service. Maybe this will be a new beginning.