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While stretch limousines and prom dresses might come to mind when you think of graduations, schools in the UAE prove there is more to graduating than a celebratory night out. The truth is that graduation ceremonies are a pivotal moment for the students and the educational institute itself. Steeped in tradition, these ceremonies are a special moment for everyone and an important time for reflection.

“The American School of Dubai has a number of traditions to celebrate our graduating seniors that we honour each year,” says Kristine Stamp-Jerabek, High School Principal, The American School of Dubai (ASD).

One special tradition is the Red Envelope Ceremony, during which students collectively read heartfelt letters of encouragement and advice from their past teachers. “This is a special reflective time where seniors get the opportunity to relive the meaningful moments and those important relationships that helped shape them into who they are today.”

Following the pandemic over the past two years, the 2022 graduation will be particularly memorable. At one school in Abu Dhabi, they will be mixing old traditions with new post-pandemic ones.

Monique Flickinger, Superintendent, American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS), says, “To celebrate the remarkable students of the Class of 2022, ACS has a unique meld of long-standing traditions mixed with new ones birthed from the pandemic. We were excited to see the return of the time-honoured Senior Salute, where graduates take their final walk through campus as they are cheered on by students from KG1-Grade 11, staff and their parents.

We spotlight our graduates with larger-than-life banners of each student in their cap and gown mounted along the length of the school’s exterior wall. We also have a special section on our website and host an honorary event for these students alongside the US Embassy. Our celebrations culminate with graduation at Emirates Palace, a landmark location to mark a landmark event.”

Given the tenacity of the teaching staff and students during the pandemic, this year’s graduation is very well-deserved, and schools are ensuring they recognise this.

Stamp-Jerabek says, “We admire the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit that our Class of 2022 possess and look forward to the many ways they will positively impact their chosen fields.”