Opinion editorials, reviews and personal essays
By Kenneth Shu and Grace Deng
As graduation quickly approaches for the seniors, the school is already beginning to plan graduation for the juniors. Some ideas by the administration have the junior class up in arms. In this article, two Pudong Press writers contemplate the possibility of graduation at SAS’ Performing Arts Center.
A PAC Graduation: A Brilliant Idea in the Making or A Disaster Waiting to Happen?
Well, I’m sure you’ve all heard about this news, either by physically being at the PAC when it was announced, or from your overly enthusiastic parents who are still mad at you for not accompanying them to the meeting. But, if you haven’t, then, here it is:
We might end up having our graduation ceremony in the PAC.
Now, now, hold on. It may not be that bad of an idea. Before you all start charging with pitchforks and torches, just hear me out and read this article. In the following document, I will be presenting a case both “for” and against this “PAC graduation”, how you choose to interpret the facts is your choice… entirely.
So let’s begin with the pros to a PAC graduation.
Having a PAC graduation saves money. We won’t have to pay any extra funding for the venues or catering, and everything will be conducted under the jurisdiction of the school. So yes, it would definitely reduce the costs and expenses of the graduation.
Furthermore, it’s (probably) more convenient. Consider this--our school is closer to us than Hongqiao, and we already have busing systems to the PAC. That means no more waking up at 6am to get prepared, or angry bus drivers trying to figure out how to navigate Puxi. Plus, we would have the entire venue all to ourselves, which would be pretty nice—especially if we really hate Puxi “that much”.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of cons to this plan.
First off, it’s the school that’s saving the money, not us. This isn’t much of a con more or less a fact. I know the school needs all the money it can save, which I am in support of. However, if that money is used on marketing, as the trend currently goes, then that is not okay. If the school is willing to cut spending for the graduation, and choose to reinvest that saved funding in marketing—and not on teacher’s pensions, or staff salaries, or club subsidies, or student equipment (hint, hint new couches)—than I, and perhaps the entirety of the student body, would be peeved.
Second, trying to fit a couple hundred individuals in a crowded hall that everyone commonly gathers in on a biweekly basis, to be frank, kind of ruins the majesty of such events. A graduation event may seem like a community meeting, but it isn’t. To simply treat it as such is a bit of a let down to say the least.
Third, we won’t be able to be with our Puxi brethren. Now I know that not everybody likes Puxi—case being that they keep beating us in sports (but not in basketball or badminton) and that they keep magically getting all the Ivy League acceptances. But perhaps it may not be that bad of an idea to mix the two campuses together. It cements bonds, bridges the cross-river divide, and allows us to meet with some of our friends from The Eleven in a final kumbaya before we all leave and depart for the foreseeable future.
Graduation is supposed to be a majestic event. It is, after all, a major milestone of every individual’s lives (hopefully), and as such it deserves the utmost treatment and respect. Chances are, unless you’re Selena Gomez, you’ll only graduate once. That graduation ceremony better be the best and most memorable one possible.
We all cherish that moment on the stage before the gazing eyes of hundreds of proud and cheerful parents, teachers, and students. Standing up on that stage and receiving that hard-earned diploma is the culmination of all those years of hard work, early mornings, and late-night binge writings. Think about it.
PAC Graduation: Not a Brilliant Idea, but a Practical One
By Grace Deng
The first time Dr. Lee announced the idea of a graduation in the PAC during Junior’s Night, cheers rose from the crowd.
Those cheers were not representative of a unanimous agreement.
Immediately after Junior’s Night, my phone lit up in discontent. The Class of 2019 chat was ablaze--one student claimed they wouldn’t even go to graduation if it takes place in the PAC. Other students immediately began protesting the idea with the administration, sending emails directly to Dr. Lee himself. Even more students just laid out their complaints in the class chat, despairing over the mere idea of graduating in the Performing Arts Center. I noticed a common theme among all of these students: the ones I knew who were complaining have never gone to a public or local school before.
As someone who always thought that they would graduate in a high school gym or field like most public school students, graduating in the rather bourgeoisie Performing Arts Center seemed like a step up to me.
My friends back home don’t even have a junior prom because there isn’t enough funding. Brittany Do, a junior and friend of mine at North Creek High, was excited about the possibility of even having a graduation venue.
“It’s pathetic how out of touch our class is with the real world,” fumed junior Brent Cheung. “We pass through Shanghai, a city with extremely high inequality, every day and we still are throwing tantrums over not getting our graduation at the most extravagant and luxurious venue.”
I know this school is used to a cushy, beautiful, and frankly overly priced graduation venue. I understand that students want to graduate in the best venue possible. And students are rightly angry in that they won’t be able to graduate with their Puxi counterparts, that we might not be able to fit everyone in the PAC (which is debatable—we already know we can fit the whole high school in there with room to spare), and that we’ll have a less expensive or elegant graduation than our past counterparts.
But the truth of the matter is: a PAC graduation is a much better graduation venue than the vast majority of high schools across the world. There are benefits too. We don’t have to travel to Puxi, we don’t have to arrange transportation, and there’s something poetic about graduating at the very institution we are graduating from.
As junior Jason Kang points out: “I don’t care where we graduate. It won’t change the fact that I’m finally graduating.”
So a PAC graduation might be hectic, crowded, and cheap, but it shouldn’t matter--because graduation isn’t about the caviar or the chandeliers. It’s about celebrating the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one with the people who matter most in your life. Think about it.