One of the coolest parts about being a teacher is witnessing the very obvious growth and maturity develop in your students and then sending them off to the next adventure!
For High School graduation in Japan, all of the students wear their uniforms (and have strict rules on how to style their hair) and are given a flower boutonniere (had to google how to spell that) to wear.
Instead of walking across the stage when their names are called (like in the states), student's names are called by their homeroom teacher and they yell "YES!" and stand up. Once the whole class is called then the class representative walks to the front and receives the diploma.
The bowing is VERY formal and impressive.
The first year students watch from the balcony while the second year students sit behind the graduates on the floor.
The senior homeroom teachers have a special role, since they walked their class through all three years of high school. Ikai sensei, third from right, only had 12 students in his class so while he was reading each name out he was weeping! I really felt his fatherly love for these kids and how much he went through with them. The teacher-student bond in Japan is truly something special.
A lot of formal speeches are given, a LOT of bowing, sitting, standing happen...and then after 2 hours the students make their exit.
After the ceremony, students head back to their classrooms to have one last homeroom where they sign yearbooks, rebel against the system by signing their uniform shirts, and hear one last speech from their homeroom teacher.
Class 3A had a party that I stopped by at. They ate a bunch of snacks, watched their video from when they went to Torrance, took a ton of photos, and signed one another's yearbooks. I got a bit emotional thinking about the fact that it could possibly be the last time I see them!
Tanaka sensei, their homeroom teacher, made a toast and the students gave one last class cheer. It is truly an amazing experience to witness a Japanese High School Graduation. I was blessed to be a part of it!