At the end of May the school year ended and N "graduated" from his preschool class. There was a special ceremony on the last day of school. A large number of friends and family were there and the graduates all wore special felt mortarboard hats and received "diplomas" from their teacher. The class recited the alphabet, numbers and colours and sang songs. N loved going to school but he was very glad to be "never going to preschool again". He is very proud to be becoming a Big Boy. He will have to wait until August next year before he can start Big School.
About a week after N's graduation we were invited to the high school graduation of my boss's son from Bagdad High School. We had never been to a high school graduation before and it was quite an "educational" experience. This year's graduating class had 22 students, apparently that is a big class (a year or two ago, only 11 students graduated) for Bagdad. The graduates wear a mortarboard and gown in the school colours (blue and white) so that is very different to Australia or New Zealand. It is traditional to give money as a gift to the graduates, so if you are invited to a graduation ceremony or post-ceremony celebration, it's customary to give a gift of money inside a congratulatory card. After the graduation ceremony at the high school, the graduates and a group of supervisory adults (parents) go into "lock-down", which this year was held at the Bagdad community campus. The students and their chaperones are locked inside the building and must stay there all night, only to be released early in the morning. If they manage to stay awake all night, they receive gifts and prizes (for example, vouchers towards college fees, I-Pods, lamps and other furniture items that they might need for their college dorm rooms, etc, all of which has been fundraised for during the year by the school booster club). College fees are very expensive (some things are the same the world over) so I guess that might be why the gift of money for high school graduates has become a tradition.