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Sioux Falls makes welcome change to graduation

by Greg Belfrage

It was a big weekend for my family! My son, Philip, graduated yesterday with the Sioux Falls Lincoln High School Class of 2014!

Phil has had some medical challenges that made it difficult for him to attend high school on a regular basis. In that light, we were particularly proud not only that he graduated, but did so a full year ahead of schedule. Phil is a hard worker and highly motivated person.

My oldest daughter, Sarah, graduated from Washington High School five years ago. At Sarah's graduation, the crowd was asked to withhold their applause until the end of the ceremony. The fear has always been that excessive applause and cheering would extend the length of the program, much like the president's annual State of the Union address.

I've always hated that decision because people cheer anyway. I remember feeling an obligation to cheer despite the instructions to the contrary, so that Sarah wouldn't feel left out. I always thought it odd and inappropriate that students should be expected to walk up to the dais in complete silence.

Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised when Lincoln principal Val Fox actually instructed the crowd to applaud for every student. She explained that students had worked hard and that every student deserved their moment of recognition.

There was still the usual cheering and shouting, but every student walked up the platform to polite applause from the audience. The additional applause didn't noticeably slow the ceremony in any way.

Thank you to the Sioux Falls School District for the change in policy. It may seem like a small thing, but high school graduation comes but once in a lifetime. Thank you for allowing our students and young people to relish their moment in the sun.

Greg Belfrage @belfrageshow is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com.