All graduates deserve to walk together

To the Editor:

Hello. I am a senior, anxiously awaiting June 10, a day I will be able to celebrate my accomplishments over the past 12 years surrounded by the peers I have spent it with and my family that has supported me. For this I am extremely grateful.

If there is any lesson that I have learned throughout my educational journey, it is that life is anything but fair and in order to achieve a goal, one must simply work for it. I have a dear friend who is a living example of hard work and dedication, despite circumstances that would have caused most others to give up. Perseverance is what most of the world lacks, but he does not. He was part of the 20-credit program offered here at BHS, which I personally view as a great opportunity for kids with varying abilities to meet their goal of graduating. As I mentioned, life is not an equal playing field and some people have different goals than others, relative to their lives and abilities. Things in life have to be modified sometimes to become realistic and attainable, and in his case, this was his journey towards graduating.

My friend, along with the many other students who chose to take the path of the 20-credit program, are no less accomplished in their graduation than those of us receiving the 24-credit diploma. However, as is the Bedford High School policy, students who opt for the 20-credit program are not allowed to walk with their peers at graduation, and instead a small, private ceremony was held for these students a week prior.

Yet, regardless of how many credits required, meeting a goal is meeting a goal. My goal, along with the majority of the Class of 2017, was different from these students. However, I have no reservations in saying that they worked just as hard, if not harder, at receiving their diplomas through their academic and social pursuits. I fully understand the implications of the 20-credit program and the regulations that are to be abided by as part of one’s enrollment.

It breaks my heart to think that my peers will not be able to share in their accomplishments with the Class of 2017 by walking across the stage on Saturday. Students I know in this program feel like they have to hide this accomplishment from their friends, simply because they are receiving a different piece of paper from the rest of us. Hard work and dedication should never have to be felt in such a painful manner, especially at such a memorable time in our lives.

The ceremony held on June 2 was a great way to recognize those students who took an alternate route in their years at Bedford. However, not allowing these students to walk with our class belittles their outstanding accomplishments and makes theirs seem less significant than ours, when in reality they were just reaching a different goal in a different way. They should not have to suffer by being excluded from their peers during a ceremony of celebration simply because of the path they chose towards graduating from this high school.

The definition of success varies for each individual in this world. I am truly grateful that Bedford High School has accommodated for all types of success, and my sincere hope is that all of these forms of triumph can be recognized equally. Please understand that I am in no way attacking the merit and value of the 20-credit program or the guidelines that were carefully crafted to help these students. I simply want the students in this program to be able to take part in the overflow of happiness and pride that will be tangible on Saturday, June 10. Even if it is not possible for these students to partake in graduation this year, I would strongly encourage the administration to rethink this policy and not let a piece of paper prevent future students from celebrating their achievements with their peers.

Elizabeth Murray


Bedford High School