Should We Have Cords at Graduation?


As the world around us changes, it is beneficial for traditions to change as well. Here at Darlington, there are many traditions we respect each year: from ringing the bell at the start of the school year to being led out with bagpipes at graduation. 

However, these traditions have changed as well. The original bell which was rung by Shem Thomas used to be rung to signify the change of classes. Whereas now, it is only rung to commence the start of the school year at convocation. 

Graduation has changed as well. There may or may not have always been bagpipes leading out the students, but the student body has definitely changed. At one point, Darlington was an all girls school. Another point it was an all boys school. Now, it is a co-ed day and boarding school. 

A tradition that came to an end this year in 2019 was Fall for the Arts. For thirteen of my fourteen years at Darlington, Fall for the Arts has happened the Friday before homecoming. However, this year Fall for the Arts did not happen. Instead we are celebrating the arts over a course of multiple chapel services instead of everything happening on one day.

I find this gives me a greater appreciation for the arts. Listening to the band and orchestra of my fellow students made me recognize the importance of the arts in almost everyones’ lives. I enjoy hearing the stories of individual students and how the arts have impacted their lives. 

A tradition that I believe should change for the better is adding cords to graduation. I respect the tradition of the girls wearing white dresses and guys wearing their specified dress. However, I feel that the addition of cords would not take away from that tradition but rather add to it to make it more special for the individual.

Adding cords would give recognition to the students who go above and beyond by taking honors class, participating in arts and athletics, and holding leadership positions. 

Cords would increase students’ participation in school and they would strive to be their best. A student would rather have multiple cords rather than none. 

Lastly, as many high schools do give out cords for graduation, these students appreciate having something to hold on to even after leaving high school. These cords can bring back memories from specific classes and activities that they could share with their children and grandchildren someday.