Prior to 2015, there was no school song for Buena Regional High School. Technically, there still isn’t. When the Senior Class Adviser asked to have the choir sing for graduation in 2015, I said that only songs that are appropriate should be sung. When she asked what this may be, I said that I have seen both the Star Spangled Banner and the Alma Mater should be sung. Since the Star Spangled Banner was being played by the band, I suggested that we would sing the Alma Mater. I knew that no Alma Mater existed.
I offered to write an appropriate school related song to be sung at the graduation. When it was performed for her and the assistant principal, it was received with a great deal of enthusiasm. The students, as well, warmed to this song and adopted it almost immediately.
Over the past two years, there seems to be a resistance to having the choir perform for the graduation. Last year, a special second song was reluctantly allowed. The year before, a second song was asked for, so we performed God Bless America. This year, “a request was made to shorten the ceremony”. Wow!!!
In 2001, when I arrived, the school included 1000 students which meant that there was about 250 graduates. Today, we have just over 500 students which means the graduating class is half that large. Diploma awarding is the longest section for graduation and is half of what it used to be…so…what’s the hurry? Is tradition and ceremony just an annoyance now at the high school level. In a world where we celebrate kindergarten and even preschool graduation…do we dare minimize the ceremonial importance of the culmination of 12 years of academic work?