ONE reason some parents I know would rather not let their graduating children participate in their school’s graduation exercise is the cost this entails. These schools include elementary, high schools and colleges. Even grade six students are asked to wear rented graduation garbs, adding financial pressure to cash-strapped parents. But there’s one school I know that asks its students to wear only their school uniform.

And I admire the school for it understands the plight of parents during these hard times. I am sure there are other schools like the St. Francis Academy in my hometown (Balamban) that does not want to burden parents with additional expenses. I know that there are even public elementary schools that ask their pupils to contribute every end of the school year an amount for the school fence, among other things. And yet the fence does not need repair.

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But there are some worthy expenses that a parent should not hesitate to give, such as the one my grandson asked, to pay for his membership in the honor society he has been invited to be member of. He is graduating cum laude in chemical engineering at UP in Los Baños. When the expense is worth sacrificing for, it does not matter what a grandparent may have to do to meet the request. What matters is that the achievement of a grandson is recognized, and given due value, for it is not everyday one gets the honor.

In any case, getting an education in this republic is getting costlier and costlier every year. Many colleges are now set to increase their fees. Even enrolling in the public schools has become rather expensive with all sorts of contributions being asked by the teachers. Every little activity being set, the teachers ask the pupils or the students to pay for the cost. Of course, you can hardly blame the mentors for doing so because they can’t afford to put up the cost with the amount of monthly pay they get.

On the other hand, teachers should find ways to limit the projects and activities to within the capability of the parent’s pockets. Last week, the Buanoy High School in Balamban scheduled a field trip of their students—I am not sure whether they were all graduating—to the Don Bosco cooperative vocational school. On the way back, the bus hired by the school met an accident, and more than a dozen students were injured, and had to be hospitalized. Who should pay the cost of hospitalization?

I am not trying to be a kill joy to the graduating students and their parents who want to make the graduation of their children a memorable thing. That is why many parents do not hesitate to agreeing having their kids wear toga during the exercise, and some of them would even celebrate with a party at home the night of graduation. But that is already a private matter, and has nothing to do with the whims of school officials regarding how they would celebrate their commencement exercises at whatever amount it would cost.