Why you should attend convocation


Ben Sanders

Every year at the end of May, soon to be graduates pile into the gymnasium. Instead of graduating today, seniors get the chance to listen in on all their scholarships. 

   A tradition at several schools, convocation gives students the opportunity to hear about all the successes of their class. However, hours of monotony seem futile to some students, but convocation can actually be fruitful. Students should start to recognize how beneficial convocation is, and stop complaining about having to attend.


It doesn’t involve me, so why should I care? 


Actually, convocation does involve you. Despite not being a senior, students will eventually be in the same position as seniors. Convocation gives students the ability to prepare themselves for what to expect in the future. 

  In a couple of years, your graduating class will be in the exact same seats as those seniors. As your class fills in those seats filled with excitement, students will earn several scholarships, and some won’t. 

   Convocation should be a wake up call for a few. To see your peers and fellow students achieve and succeed should be a motivating force. A force to encourage you to succeed as well, to earn those scholarships. 

   Paying attention and being present at convocation motivates you and opens your eyes to the potential you have. Your high school years may seem long, but they go by fast. Realizing this and directing your efforts to earn those scholarships at convocation is a definite reason to care. 


I’m not learning anything from convocation


While it appears as if convocation has no value, that’s simply not true. Convocation gives students plenty of opportunities to learn.

   Every year, about $850,000 in scholarships are awarded by the Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland Area to local high school students. This foundation provides just one of several possible scholarship opportunities students have. 

   Convocation displays the several possibilities students have to get scholarships for future education. By attending convocation, juniors and underclassmen have the ability to become more aware of ways they can earn money for college and post-secondary education. 


I could be doing something else 


Sure, you could be sitting in class listening to your teacher, but learning about how you could support your future is far more important than an hour of assignments. 

   While students could be in classes instead of convocation, the benefits outweigh having class time. Students that go to convocation get the chance to learn about important scholarships for their future and become inspired by their peers who succeed. 

   These long-term benefits of convocation outweigh the short-term benefit of a small amount of class time to get work done.


The same people get the same awards


   Every year, it seems the same types of people earn the same scholarships. Often, the valedictorians and students with hundreds of service hours seem to take the majority of the scholarships. As an underclassmen and junior, it can appear as if there isn’t any point in caring about convocation and these scholarships if they will only go to a select few.

   Despite this, convocation should act as motivation. You might watch convocation and think you could never be in their shoes, but you have the chance to change that. Being a junior or underclassmen gives you something seniors don’t have: time. 

   As you come closer to your senior year, you have the time to change your bad grades, start volunteering at the local food pantry, and get serious about your life goals. Convocation can seem as if it only perpetuates the norm of the same people getting the same awards, but you can change that.

   At convocation this year, Sr. Stephen Mosteller earned the Panther Award. This award recognizes a student who overcame obstacles on the way to graduation. His path to graduation was blocked by family troubles, suspensions, and lack of motivation to care about school. 

   However, Mosteller changed his life around. During his sophomore year, Mosteller’s step-dad tragically died when he was on suspension. Then and there, Mosteller decided to change. A few years later, Mosteller is getting ready to go to Michigan Technological Institute on the presidential scholarship. 

   Just like Mosteller, convocation can act as a wake-up call. A chance to be that student that receives those scholarships on the stage. Rather than accepting the norm, you have the chance to change your future.