According to an old adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” What can a graduation picture tell us about a graduate poised on the threshold between two lives, the past and future? When graduates are told to “say cheese” the camera’s light will capture only a moment of their fast-paced lives shining on this threshold. Graduation is the final step of the education that writes the first 1000 words of their story. Many more are yet come. During this time, the questions of whom to thank and say goodbye to, of whom to trust and say hello to, and where and how to proceed arise. Most importantly, how do we assess the values and discern the patterns of the graduate striving to build a worthy reputation from only the snapshot visible to us?
All graduation pictures are prized as visual evidence of the successful completion of GCC educational program. They keep fresh the memory of the associate certificate regardless of its merit, and the character development, learning, or integrity realized by the student. Pushing aside the camera, let us ask the vital questions – Where will graduates go from here, whether success and happiness is guaranteed, and how this two dimensional image will allow us to interpret the other truly valuable dimensions of their lives?
Immanuel Kant’s words shed light on this scenario. The intentions and motivations behind graduation and through which means (i.e. hard work and determination) have been achieved that are more important than the graduation itself. Kant’s principle can be applied to every single step of our lives regardless of personal beliefs and individual goals. This is due to the values and virtues that we’ve implicitly pledged long before standing at the graduation podium.
How it is possible to complete this picture with words in one click of the camera shutter? What should a convocation speech entail? “Good speech, good harmony, good grace and good rhythm accompany good disposition,” Plato says. But how? In the background we hear the politicians’ slogans “Education, Education, Education,” and a rising din of other words: budget cuts, financial aid, grade point average, achievements, activities, general knowledge, awards, honors, and most importantly, teachers..
Where words stop, the music begins. When “Pomp and Circumstance,” starts playing, everything will stop momentarily and inform the crowd of this significant occasion. Modern research substantiates what Plato and Aristotle posited about music and its study, namely how they help in shaping a better personality. Without realizing that, it’s the beat, the rhythm, and the harmony of the music that goes beyond words and help us organize our successes and happiness in time. Pythagoras believed “. we become what we sing.”
Modern research substantiates what Plato and Aristotle posited about music and its study, namely how they help in shaping a better personality. “If you want to measure the spiritual depth of society, make sure to mark its music,” Plato says. Let us resonate the “Mozart Effect” at GCC before the graduates say goodbye to the teachers marking a good disposition and making the picture worthy of its achievement in either the teacher or the student.