Graduates, Party On!

Graduates, Party On! 
By Walter Ang
March 9, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer

March ushers in one of the most anticipated epochs in academic life? graduation. This milestone causes unimaginable anxiety for countless students who toil and sweat all year round, some to excel, others to just barely pass. For these hardy souls, the fruit of several years' excruciating labor is getting up onstage to proudly announce that they've survived it all.

For all the hardships one has to go through in order to graduate, you would think that graduation rites should be more merry and less staid. After all, the graduates are all young and vibrant! When they succeed in something, they'd rather scream and holler in jubilation than sit still for hours on end.

The graduates should be able to have fun and enjoy this momentous occasion to the hilt. With this in mind, don't you think these solemn events ought to have a more festive atmosphere? Graduation rites should be like a giant party and have themes much the same way some fast-food chains have theme parties for special occasions.

This is actually a resourceful way of saving money in these trying times. Think about it, the graduates and their families will usually have a party or dinner celebration after the ceremonies anyway. By combining the rites and the party, we save countless people time, effort and money.

Graduation ceremonies are as special as occasions can possibly get. If we take our cue from these theme parties, then here are some ways we can liven up the proceedings:

Jungle Theme
This theme will be very apt since school can be like a jungle at times, with classmates (and sometimes, teachers too) who act and smell like animals instead of humans. Fill the stage with vines and coconut leaves and you'll be on your way. Just like Tarzan, the graduates can give out a blaring whoop when they get onstage. This will signify a release of all their pent up energy, frustrations and of course, exhilaration at finally graduating. It would be wonderful if we could have a trained monkey give out the diplomas.

Aquatic Theme
For your set design, you can use faux corals (less the eco police come after you) placed ever so strategically across the stage. The top five students can be seated in giant half-opened clams. Remember the Disney movie "The Little Mermaid"? If there's enough money for extra effects, a bubble making machine can also be utilized.

Better yet, the whole ritual can be held at a beach resort, preferably one that has a giant twisting water slide. Graduates can receive their diplomas on the top of the slide. Then, they'll slide down into the pool so they can literally make a big splash.

Afterwards, everyone can just hang out in the pool and cool off. Parents and guests will be served one complimentary piƱa colada each. Fun!

Space Theme
Students are always being told to "reach for the stars," so this is just a creative way to embody this notable piece of advice. Since the Star Wars franchise is enjoying a resurgence, it can be a fantastic source of ideas.

Can you just imagine how much fun it would be to hear Darth Vader's theme while the graduates march down the aisle instead of hearing the same old "Triumphant March" from Verdi's opera "Aida"? For the less morbid batches, they can stick to the opening theme of the movie instead.

The top five students can be seated like the Jedi council. If the valedictorian is female, she can wear a Queen Amidala headdress instead of the usual toga cap. If male, he can wear, you guessed it, Vader's mask. Don't forget to breathe heavily!

Congratulations to the millennium's first batch of graduates!