Graduation and Cord Collecting: Pandemic Edition

Graduation and Cord Collecting: Pandemic Edition

 As graduation draws ever closer for our seniors, a topic that has been recently reintroduced to the student consciousness is that of cords. Cords are essentially fancy colored pieces of twined rope that you get to wear around your neck on graduation day. You can earn these cords through participating in honor societies and certain other activities like HOSA. When it comes to the debate on cords, high school students fall on one of two extremes. Either they’re all in and aiming for more than four cords, or they couldn’t care less about them. However, according to a survey sent out to our student body shows that an overwhelming 85.5% of respondents care about being able to earn any cords and 59% cared about earning A LOT of cords. 

Based on the responses, students seem pretty split on whether or not a spirit of competition exists around obtaining cords for graduation. Some say that they have not heard anyone competitively speak about cords. Others say that the more cords you have, the more successful you look. When asked if there was an informal version of competition for cords that exists at MAST, the answer shows that students are split on this topic. 49.2% said that it does exist, and 50.8% said that it doesn’t. To clear up this issue, I will attempt to explain a common perspective. Most see this as an opportunity to challenge themselves personally, to further expand their high school experience through various clubs and projects. Cords are symbolic of our accomplishments and service, and the more you have, the more you have been recognized for all the remarkable things you’ve done.

However, as we all know, the Class of 2020 was not able to have a traditional graduation ceremony due to the pandemic. Because the pandemic has yet to relinquish its firm grip on our lives, the Class of 2021 faces similar challenges to their graduation as well. In reference to the importance of and motivation for cords, responses show that the students are divided on this topic as well. On the other hand, the survey has shown that 70.5% of the students are in agreement on one thing: the prospect of having a virtual graduation has decreased the value of cords. This sentiment may be the result of not being able to truly flaunt cords around family and peers. Or by not being able to experience a “normal” high school graduation, students have lost motivation and enthusiasm for the event as a whole. Either way, the notion of a virtual graduation has degraded the significance of cords. 

There is no question that the world is in bizarre and frightening circumstances at the moment. No matter what is going on, we all need to remember that we only have the chance to go through high school once, with one graduation. There are no rewind buttons, no do-overs. Although high-school has been particularly demanding, especially this past year, graduation (whatever form it takes) is our chance to celebrate that we persisted and survived four years of sleepless nights, stressful exams, and frustrating classes.

Our class of 2021 has even further reason to celebrate on graduation day; we have persevered through one of the worst global health crises in modern history and all the unrest and turmoil that has come with it. Whether you wear seven cords or two around your neck in June, I dare all seniors to commemorate their graduation with joy and enthusiasm, ready to face whatever the world will throw at us.

Image from Southwest Journal
Denise Evans
Denise Evans

Denise Evans is a writer for the Caduceus Times newspaper. She is an accomplished student and athlete from Mast @ Homestead, having had achieved an AP Scholar with Distinction Award as well as multiple karate World Championship titles around the world. When she’s not diligently writing for The Caduceus Times, you might find her traveling, training, competing in tournaments, teaching at her local dojo, or studying for her various AP classes.

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