LHS students want graduation change

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A group of students from the Class of 2016 is asking the Lafayette School District to reconsider a graduation policy.

Many students in extracurricular academic clubs, including the band, R.O.T.C. and Future Farmers of America at the high school were disappointed in the district’s commencement policy, which states students will only be allowed to wear academic cords of recognition.

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“With graduation approaching, there are many senior students that could have the opportunity to wear graduation cords highlighting their achievements with the organizations offered at Lafayette,” Student Council President Edith Kent said.

Students from the organizations made their case to board members and cited their achievements within the schools.

Kent argued their organizations are more than clubs at school — they are academic and deserve due recognition.

The FFA, R.O.T.C. and the high school band all require classes, count as academic credit and offer opportunity to compete on a national level.

The Lafayette County FFA chapter alone has been recognized nationally on more than one occasion and has been one of the top chapters in the state of Mississippi for multiple years.

Board member Bob Colson said he was supportive of the various organizations’ achievements, but he said there is a difference between a club achievement and academic progress.

Colson said academic achievements are accumulated over the period of 12 years for students, not just in high school.

“How many people are cheering somebody who made a 28 or 30 on their ACT?” Colson said. “If y’all are all having cords, it kind of diminishes their status.”

Colson suggested the clubs wear a pin as another type of recognition.

However, the national organizations do not offer graduation pins or stoles — just cords. In fact, many high schools across the nation allow seniors to graduate with their cords.

Additionally, several seniors in the group have recently been awarded scholarships for their organizational achievements.

The board agreed to take the policy into consideration with the new request.

“I want the board to know that there are seniors like me who excel in multiple areas in high school,” Kent said.