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Don’t dismiss eighth grade graduation

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Chris MetitationsBy Chris Edwards

School board meetings can be eye-opening events for anyone interested in how our children are educated, and you should be interested. Not only are those children our future, but you, the taxpayer, are a stakeholder in that process.

Occasionally, some ideas and things said in those meetings can prove controversial. Hopefully, the scenario described below does not rise to that level, but I do hope some decisions will be reconsidered.

At the Colmesneil ISD regular monthly meeting of its board of trustees last week, one board member reportedly inquired of CISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Davis about the status of eighth-grade graduation. Davis replied to the board member, who concluded his query with “Is that not a thing anymore?” with “not if I have anything to do with it.”

Davis gave his reasoning as being the transition of eighth grade to freshman year is just “too close to high school,” and went on to state that the cute kindergarten graduation ceremonies are acceptable to him, but that he’s, personally, not a fan of the eighth-grade graduation events.

Now this is in no way to sleight Dr. Davis, who is a respected educational professional, and a great asset to CISD, but merely my thoughts on the subject.

Sure, some parents can probably overdo the celebration of their kids’ transition from the gawky era of junior high into high school, but the practice of the ceremony itself is a great morale booster for those kids, who need all of the morale-boosting they can get nowadays.

Full disclosure: I am a CISD alumni and proud Bulldog supporter. I remember my eighth-grade graduation (or promotion, if you’re inclined to refer to it) well. It was a fun evening and felt like a big deal, and it was a big deal to us.

Eighth grade graduations back in my day were a good way for us young folks making that leap to get all dressed-up in a business casual sort of way outside of church, and to enjoy get togethers afterward with piles of cold Subway sandwiches and two-liters of cola.

Also, there were gifts. I remember receiving a Sony Discman from my grandparents, which was high cotton at the time.

Compared to then, I’m sure what I just described probably sounds all kinds of rinky-dink to youngsters of that age now, but what of it? Celebrate those young years and those achievements as often as you can.

For those who would posit that eighth-grade graduation is a useless exercise, I would rebut that, “No, gender-reveal parties are pointless and unnecessary. Eighth grade graduation ceremonies, on the other hand, are a milestone.”

I’m sure some of you who’ve been around a little longer might say “Well, we didn’t have no stinkin’ eighth-grade graduation in my day.” Sure, I get it. The tradition hasn’t been around since the days of walking five miles uphill in the snow and whatnot, but it has become just that: a tradition.

Again, today’s young people need all of the incentives and motivation they can get in order to succeed academically, and getting to celebrate another milestone, like moving into that next (and final) chapter of their public-school education can be crucial and can help set up future successes.

So, I implore the administration of Colmesneil ISD: give those eighth graders one more chance to shine, and don’t dismiss their graduation/promotion.

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