The purpose of a high school graduation ceremony is to celebrate students who have successfully met the academic and extracurricular requirements for graduation. The ceremony provides a public venue in which graduating students receive their diplomas, marking their official graduation from high school.
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High school graduation ceremonies are typically held at the end of the academic year and are attended by faculty, staff, graduates and their families and friends.
Graduation is also referred to as commencement. The term supports the idea that rather than marking the end of one stage in a student's life, graduation signifies the beginning of the next.
Along with the awarding of the diplomas, the commencement address is an essential part of the ceremony. The address traditionally congratulates graduates on their achievements, encourages them on their endeavors and imparts wisdom for the future.
Depending on the high school, students may signify their status as graduates-to-be by attending the ceremony in caps and gowns.
Graduation announcements are another common way to publicize a graduate's achievement. They are typically given to family and friends who cannot attend the commencement ceremony.