Hello all, coming up with topics for my weekly blog posts is increasingly becoming an ordeal. I initially start by going through the process of brain dumping to see what gets my creative juices going. I did that and nothing from my brain duml piqued my interest. Then I figured let me share things that appear to be taking up a majority of my thinking time and hey presto the perfect topic came to mind.
High School Graduation, I never would have thought this would be so demanding of my time, but it is probably due to the fact that I am learning from experience. I am going through the high school graduatio process for the first time as a parent and I am learning about what a production it is. Culturally speaking “most African parents” do not take high school graduation too seriously , they are more concerned about raising college graduates so they tend to place more emphasis on college graduation. Take my personal experience for example, I do not recall my parents putting in the time and effort I am trying to put into in planning my son’s graduation party ( I guess that is why I end up doing everything last minute). Dont get me wrong I have no ill feelings towards my parents for the lack of celebration for graduating high school, it is what it is and that is just how it was. Did we celebrate my multiple college graduations? We did and that is for another post completely. I am sharing this post in the hope it will benefit those that are new to this land and these high school graduation traditions.
I want you to be aware that you will be SPENDING a lot of time and resources dealing with graduation type events. In list form there are a lot of things to consider and I must say it is a very lucrative business to consider.
1. Photography for the year book and prom
2. Prom (tux rentals, limo rentals, corsages, make-up and not forgetting prom dresses)
3. Graduation announcements (didn’t know what these were)
4. Graduation gown
5. Senior field trips (the fun trips to Disney and the other theme parks they attend)
6. All the college application fees.
I think 6 is enough for now I am sure if I took the time I could come up with other pointers to prepare for. I consider myself a rookie high school graduate parent in all aspects of the word. I haven’t experienced all the hype that goes into it before. That could be because I didn’t graduate high school in the USA and I haven’t really had anyone that close to me have a kid go through the process. So I am learning as I go along and I know by the time kid number 2 and 3 graduate I will be a pro at it. What I am quickly beginning to realize is that you have to be proactive and not reactive. I have been reactive and that is probably due to the fact that my son is just as reactive as I am. He tells me details at the last minute. I have such a busy schedule and as such have no interest in micromanaging my kids. I only micromanage them when it is absolutely necessary, this therefore places the onus on them. They are expected to be accountable and responsible for the things they need to let me know. Does this always work out well…..but we are all going though a learning curve. Here are some things I have learned that you might want to benefit from.
Graduation Packages: Some schools offer graduation packages right at the beginning of the year. In our case I was able to buy a package that included the cost of year book, Prom, and the trip to the 2 theme parks. By purchasing the package we were able to save close $150 as individually purchasing these throughout the year came at a higher cost.
Graduation Announcements and Year Book Pictures: I guess I still have time to get the announcements done but I would have to give these to people at the party, the idea is to use them as invitations to inform people that your child is graduating. So I guess planning ahead does help. On the same topic we had to arrange for the year book pictures. It was a fun event, planned at the last minute because most of the decent time slots had been taken up. My son got 3 looks in, his graduation gown, a smart tux picture and his basketball jersey picture. I am still yet to order these pictures and the deadline for ordering is fast approaching so guess what’s going on my to do list for this week.
Graduation Gowns: These also have to be ordered, most companies come to the high school to get the phyiscal orders from you. Yet once again my son left it till the last minute to let me know and I was working so we had to place a telephone order after the fact.
PROM: We are so lucky we were able to find a nice local family business that happened to carry their own stock of tuxedos in their shop. As per the running theme of this posting the tux order was also done at the last minute but I always go with positivity. Everything worked out in the end. The kids managed to get together and figured out the transportation situation. I would recommend getting together with some parents so that you can all share the cost of the limo rental service. On corsages, who knew those things could be a bit on the pricey side, this might be a worthy side hussle to consider. I can start practicing making them so that I can become a supplier for the next Prom, and I can be a pro by the time my daughter is graduating. Overall my firstvprom experience was interesting to say the least and not easy on the pockets.
COLLEGE APPLICATION FEES: Did you know that each college has an application fee. So if your kid decides to apply to lots of Schools be ready with the application fees. We were lucky that some of the schools waived the fee because he is in the AVID program. AVID stands for advancment via individual determination, it is a program that is offered at some schools to help educators prepare students for college. My son got to visit a whole bunch of colleges and benefited from having some application fees waived through this. He was also assisted auth knowing which classes her had to take in order to meet graduation requirements. I personally benefited from him being in avid though there are some that argue against AVID arguing that it takes up too much student time. All I can recommend is for you to carry out your own research. We still had to pay application fees for some other colleges.
Graduation Party : This us currently my work in progress. With just over 4 weeks remaining I have had to kick myself into high gear where preparations are concerned. Due to my reactive nature, I missed out on renting the club house as a venue. I guess I should have really started planning this party a year in advance, but as you heard in my intro my cultural background is to blame. I am trying to make up for it though, I have a long to do list for myself tommorow. What with trying to figure out the decorations, menus, invitations I know I have my work cut out for me. As wth everything else I am confident it will all work out well but I definitely have learned to plan ahead. My da ughter will surely benefit from all my lkessons learned. I am confident her party will actually take place in a proper venue and not our back yard because I will be such a pro by then.
There is so much about the high school graduation experience that can bve discussed but perhaps it will be best for another blog post. I hope my experiences can shed some light on what to expect and what to prepare for. Start saving because the expenses do pile up.
With Love and Gratitude
Dr Fatsani Dogani