Commencement: Let’s begin Class of 2018

Commencement is a major rite of passage, from the student to the graduate, in a public  ceremony. The ancient concept of recognition of receiving a degree is vindication of knowledge that licenses one to teach what one has learned.

The baccalaureate ceremony originated at Oxford University where each bachelor was required to deliver a sermon in Latin. That practice has eliminated the individual student sermon in favor of a guest speaker.

Cap and Gown

The traditional graduation dress of cap and gown started in the 13th and 14th centuries. The graduation cap and gown date back to England.


At most high schools, the tassels are first worn on the right and then flipped to the left upon receiving the diploma or degree to signify moving on from one stage of life to the next.

Lake Lure Classical Academy Photo credit: Deborah Keller


The first diplomas were made from paper-thin sheepskin, handwritten with ink, rolled and tied with a ribbon. This tradition continued until 100 years ago when the diplomas began to be printed on parchment.

Class Ring

The Egyptians started this idea; they felt that their scarab”s rings promised them eternal life. Today rings are worn to show pride and a sense of accomplishment.

The Music

“Pomp and Circumstance” is the traditional graduation march. It was composed by Sir Edward Elgar and first performed on Oct. 19, 1901 in Liverpool, England.

May your new life bring you good health, joy, and service to humanity.