All Students Deserve Praise For Graduation

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Few moments in a teenager's life parallel the excitement of high school graduation.

It is a defining moment.

It celebrates more than academic achievement. It is a life-changing event. It marks the moment youth trembles between childhood and adulthood; the point in life when teens chafe against the bonds of parental rule, eager to test themselves against a larger world full of mysterious promise.

It is an event that brims with swirling, giggly energy and rich, stately tradition, but in Payson, it is burdened with long, boring lists of scholarship donors that put guests to sleep, overemphasize a handful of students and sap the enthusiasm out of the whole affair.

And don't think the drudgery has been lost on this year's graduating class.

A few weeks ago, one graduating senior asked the high school administration to dispense with the scholarship announcements, which can take up to an hour, at this year's graduation ceremony.

The student argued that the school's long-running practice, which is designed to recognize the people and businesses who provide scholarship money, actually bogs down the ceremony, places entirely too much emphasis on the handful of students who win most of the scholarships and short changes 90 percent of the graduating student body.

The request was turned down flat.

School administrators are understandably nervous about offending scholarship sponsors who generously support local students year after year.

Undaunted, the student has begun circulating a petition. She wants school administrators to limit scholarship announcements to Honors Night, a special ceremony for scholarship winners, and simply list the donors in the graduation program. This event gives the scholarship winners the recognition they deserve without stalling the momentum of graduation for everyone.

It's a reasonable request, and a popular one among students and parents.

We encourage local scholarship donors to take school administrators off the hook. Call them at 474-2233 and let them know you support local students because it's the right thing to do, not because you want to hear your name read off during graduation.

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