Local schools add personal touches to graduation

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Third in a series

By Kelly Cantrall

When it comes to graduation ceremonies, tassels, mortarboards and the notes of “Pomp and Circumstance” are clear indications — tradition is important in commencement.


Most ceremonies include traditions commonly found at commencements around the country, but some local schools work to include aspects that are special to their students and faculty.

At Elizabethtown High School, the student speaker at the ceremony remains a secret until that night when they’re called to the podium. The speaker is chosen by administration and faculty at the school, senior sponsor Sammie Franklin said.

It’s a tradition that goes back far enough that Franklin is unsure of how it got started, but it’s one she enjoys.

“I really like that we do it that way,” she said.

The committee tries to choose a student who is well-rounded and generally picks someone about three weeks before graduation, she said.

“I think there’s some anticipation” on the part of the students as to who will be chosen, she said.

The faculty at John Hardin High School attend the ceremony in robes and hoods to indicate their degrees, in a similar fashion as a college graduation ceremony, senior sponsor Angela Lewis said.

“We really try to make it a high-class ceremony,” Lewis said.

It’s something that began with the first faculty when the school opened, she said.

“We wanted John Hardin to have something unique,” she said.

Lewis said she thinks it adds a meaningful touch for the graduates, as the teachers are there “to support them in their last walk at John Hardin,” she said.

North Hardin High School is adding new elements this year, including asking their faculty to wear robes as well, senior sponsor Shanae Thompson said. Thompson said they also wanted to show their support to the new graduates.

This year, North’s band will play the processional at the beginning of the ceremony as well, she said. It was another way “to showcase some of our students,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.