Documenting Commencement Traditions


You know the time-honored tradition of tossing your graduation cap in the air at the end of a commencement ceremony?

Yeah… never did it.

When I graduated from high school, I was too afraid of not being able to find my cap in the ensuing post-ceremony chaos that I simply kept my mortarboard bobby pinned to my head.

When I graduated from college, I didn’t dare toss my black cap into the air because I was having a horrendous hair day. There was no way I was going to be photographed without something masking my messed up mane. Also, I wanted to add my tassel to my scrapbook and sending it into the air seemed counterproductive.

I may not have followed tradition, but I still have my gold tassel neatly displayed on a scrapbook layout that features this appropriate line: “The tassel’s worth the hassle!” The page design also includes photos of me and my family shortly after I receive my diploma, as well as the commencement ceremony program.

By documenting commencement traditions you will be able to craft an eye-popping graduation-themed book, or at the very least, a few pages in a Year-in-Review memory album. If you are looking for unique ways to spice up your layouts, do what I did. I listed a slew of famous commencement-themed quotes on a piece or paper, and then sifted through photos taken on gradation day to see which ones matched up with the words from the famous sayings. The aforementioned tassel layout is just one example of this technique.

Another quote I used in my scrapbook was: “A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.” I paired the saying with wide shots of my entire graduating class and printed this quote–“You know that point at your graduation ceremony where everyone throws their caps? Isn’t it great that we all celebrate how smart we are by throwing sharp pointy objects in the air”–alongside a professional photo taken just as my friends tossed their mortarboards into the rafters.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.