Should we have color-coordinated cords at graduation?

     Walking in front of everybody at graduation shows that you made a commitment to school for the last thirteen years. It shows that you have accomplished a basic form of education, as well as grown up. The coming-of-age celebration is a great time to show what you have accomplished in the last four years. Having cords around the robes identify what achievements you have made. For example, yellow cords mean you have above a 3.5 GPA, and white cords mean you have anything below a 3.5 GPA, and a red cord means you have a 4.0 all throughout high school. While cords show off your academic achievements, is it fair for the students who don’t have perfect grades to be judged by their cord?


     The positive side of the color coordinated cords is that it gives recognition to the students who have worked really hard to earn a 4.0. That being said, there are confounding factors to the students that earn a 4.0. Some people may take really hard classes and earn a 4.0, so great for them. Some people take no honors or higher level classes and earn a 4.0. They may not necessarily be working harder than some students who do take IB and AP classes, though they are recognized in the same way at graduation.


     The students who have the lowest level of cords are more “put to shame” by their academic achievements, or lack-thereof. It may seems embarrassing because they don’t have the “higher level” cords that their classmates may have. This seems unfair to put kids on the spot like this, because it seems less congratulatory, and more pitiful. The thing is that we don’t know why they may have lower GPAs. Some kids work a lot outside of school, and don’t have the time to keep up with school in order to make a living. There may be family problems, or health problems that people in the audience would never know about. Instead, all they see is a white cord that shows they have a certain GPA. Not knowing people’s backstories and just seeing a certain cord color makes people quick to judge. How would we ever know what their life is like? Instead we remember our last moments with people by the cord they were given to wear at graduation.


     There seems to be an obvious flaw in the graduation system. Yes, of course cords are a tradition. Instead of being color coordinated by GPA, everybody who graduates should have the same color cord, in addition to extra academic achievements or extracurricular achievements. Not knowing everyone makes a first impression, and quick to judge them based on their grades in high school. Just because you don’t have amazing grades doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. As long as you have motivation and drive, anything is possible. Cords cause parents and other peers to make judgements based off of grades, not somebody’s potential or talents that are non-academic. Cords in no way make for equality amongst the school, and drive people to make assumptions that are most likely not true. There needs to be a fair way to celebrate everybody’s achievements and overall graduation.