Friday, February 15, 2008

Korean High School Graduation

The middle week in February (for Mokpo schools and I'm guessing everywhere else in Korea) is Graduation Week. And the pinnacle of that week is Graduation Day and the pinnacle of that day is the Graduation Ceremony, celebrating the 3 years that students have spent in high school. It's also the last requirement in my 4 days of work in February. I won't be back online until March 3rd.

I brought my little point and shoot video camera with me to document what turned out to be no more than an hour of high school pageantry. Here's what I learned:

Location
The ceremony took place during the day, around mid-morning in the gymnasium, a fairly recent building with no heating. The floor was covered in tarp and the Grade 3 students were given the seat of honors on the main floor while the school band played the equivalent to pomp and circumstance. Grade 1 and Grade 2 students sitting in the bleachers were forced to attend, although their numbers were suspiciously low. And in select areas portable heaters were trotted out, giving places for the standing parents (and teachers) to congregate in the back of the gym. Everybody was cold.

Flowers
Flowers are apparently mandatory gifts during graduation. Flowers are suitable for both boys and girls (and even teachers) but must be as Koreanly ornate as possible. Bouquets stylized along the lines of Disney Princess Prom are perfectly acceptable for all genders and ages. I couldn't figure if there's some timing involved with the presenting of flowers, some students seem to have them right from the start whereas other produced them after returning from the back of the gym and taking the snapshots of parents, students and smiling diplomas. By the end of the ceremony everybody seemed to had flowers and were proudly displaying them in the numerous camera friendship photos.

Hair
Hair is the big thing for the graduating student. Like flowers, hair is another area of great cross-gender investment. Some girls had gone the extra pretty distance, but for the guys, perm, waves, coloring, etc was all the norm and done according the current Korean trends, something I am utterly clueless about. One of my favorite students became the poster child for Korean Perm today. I'm going to make a English-Korean dictionary and put his photo under the word awesome. Okay?


The Ceremony
The ceremony itself is what you expect: classes come up on stage, get their piece of paper, and go back to their chairs. But the way that they did it is completely different from North American. I guess ceremoniously is an adjective that does not translate well from English to Korean:

And it's easy to see that same je ne sais quoi here, during the principal's speech:
This is during the principals address to the students but it's clear that the students are done. Done with school and done with him since they're all chatting about their upcoming two weeks of vacation before back to university.

Flour and Eggs
Unfortunately I missed the flour and eggs:
What was comical however was the Korean tradition (from what has been explained to me) of what the students do once they've graduated. Because theirs no offical ceremony of passing the certificate to the students, the students just show up in their uniforms....and at this point, they're "itching" to rip it off for good. So after all of the formalities are over, and the parents have gone back to the work, the students whip out......flour and eggs; Lots and LOTS of eggs. What happens next is hard to witness, as the flour somewhat blocks a clear view. However, when the "dust" settles, what you have are students covered head to toe in egg yolk, shells, and tonnes of flour everywhere - most importantly, all over their uniform.
It was only when I was in the car heading to the retiring teacher's farewell lunch that I saw the students walking along the streets with flour all over their uniform. I guess they're done with the uniforms too.

6 comments:

JUDY said...

Hi...
I have lived in the United States since late 2005. So glad to find your blog. I ran across yours while I was stealing the lesson plans on the net as you did. I've been studying how to teach English here. It is like way beyond my head.

I am from Seoul in Korea. You and I are in the opposite situation. I am going to come back to Korea in summer of the next year. I am in Fort Collins now. Nice to see you again.

j.m. said...

Hi Judy,

I just wrote something about Koreans studying abroad here and I was wondering if you would share your experience; I found an article telling me that the process does more harm than good but I'd like to verify if this is a real problem or just an exaggeration. I don't get that many Koreans here so any insight or corrections are greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Hello !.
might , perhaps curious to know how one can manage to receive high yields .
There is no initial capital needed You may begin earning with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you need
AimTrust represents an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

It is based in Panama with offices everywhere: In USA, Canada, Cyprus.
Do you want to become a happy investor?
That`s your chance That`s what you wish in the long run!

I`m happy and lucky, I began to take up real money with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to select a correct companion utilizes your savings in a right way - that`s the AimTrust!.
I make 2G daily, and my first deposit was 1 grand only!
It`s easy to join , just click this link http://isohypec.envy.nu/zysafy.html
and lucky you`re! Let`s take our chance together to feel the smell of real money

Anonymous said...

Hi !.
might , probably very interested to know how one can reach 2000 per day of income .
There is no initial capital needed You may commense to get income with as small sum of money as 20-100 dollars.

AimTrust is what you thought of all the time
The firm represents an offshore structure with advanced asset management technologies in production and delivery of pipes for oil and gas.

Its head office is in Panama with structures everywhere: In USA, Canada, Cyprus.
Do you want to become really rich in short time?
That`s your choice That`s what you really need!

I`m happy and lucky, I began to take up income with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to select a proper partner who uses your funds in a right way - that`s the AimTrust!.
I make 2G daily, and my first deposit was 1 grand only!
It`s easy to get involved , just click this link http://fykacoxuk.ibnsites.com/tahofug.html
and go! Let`s take our chance together to feel the smell of real money

Anonymous said...

ups sorry delete plz [url=http://duhum.com].[/url]

Anonymous said...

Hi there!
I would like to burn a theme at this forum. There is such a nicey, called HYIP, or High Yield Investment Program. It reminds of ponzy-like structure, but in rare cases one may happen to meet a company that really pays up to 2% daily not on invested money, but from real profits.

For several years , I earn money with the help of these programs.
I don't have problems with money now, but there are heights that must be conquered . I get now up to 2G a day , and my first investment was 500 dollars only.
Right now, I'm very close at catching at last a guaranteed variant to make a sharp rise . Visit my blog to get additional info.

http://theinvestblog.com [url=http://theinvestblog.com]Online Investment Blog[/url]