How do you define a Graduation Ceremony? Most of the students would give phrases like “something grand”, “party”, “celebration”, etc. We often hear graduation and commencement at the end of the school year. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines graduation as “the award or acceptance of an academic degree” – the graduation is a moment to receive an academic degree. While commence is “to enter upon or to begin” – the commencement is a fresh-start moment. Both terms are used interchangeably. Uniquely, Sekolah Dian Harapan Holland Village Manado rather uses “Thanksgiving Day” to commemorate this precious moment – a moment to come to God by embracing His faithfulness for He has consistently helped the students to demonstrate good stewardship of the given time and ability to learn and grow in the institution that He entrusted.
Praise the Lord for the opportunity to celebrate and ponder upon God’s marvelous work despite all limitations. Virtual Thanksgiving Day Committee had prepared a digital invitation and banner to notify all the school members since the D-7. All the school members showed committed participation to share notification banners on their social media daily. The most anticipated day has come. On June 11th, the first Virtual Thanksgiving Day 2020 SDH Holland Village Manado “Christ Lives In Me” was aired on YouTube and Microsoft Stream. All the teachers, staff, and parents witnessed how God had dealt graciously to the life of the students, especially K3, Grade 6th, 9th, and 12th students. Although it was a virtual ceremony, the students and parents ought to present well and followed the entire ceremony properly, as if all the school members were in the same place commemorating it. The live chat feature was opened as an opportunity for the audience to engage with one another. Especially for the former students of Sekolah Dian Harapan Holland Village Manado, watching their underclassmen and interacting on the live chat was a moment to share the joy of re-visiting the old memory yet fresh in their minds. For the graduate students and their parents, they were able to share and transfer the excitement despite all the circumstances. What a privilege to feel connected and belong to a community!
It has been set that there is only one video of virtual Thanksgiving Day that will be aired on June 11th, 2020. Sekolah Dian Harapan Holland Village Manado community realized the meaning of this celebration and thus through the premiered video, the whole community could cherish with all the graduating students at the moment. The committee had crafted the video carefully by presenting the Grand Narrative of Redemption through the interactive narrative by the voice-over, a performance by Homeroom teachers’ (of graduating students), a reminder from the sermon, and kaleidoscope or memento of the list of graduating students. Tears of joy started to shed. There were no words that could describe the graduating students’ journey. Little did the teachers know that the graduating students had prepared a token of gratitude for them. Nothing could compare the joy of witnessing how each life that God entrusted in the classroom were prepared to walk more independently – side by side with the Creator – for the next grade level. Last but not the least, the graduating students were encouraged by the former teachers to walk and abide in Him continually.
The video may last for eighty-six minutes, but this joyous moment did not end there. The graduating students and their home-room teachers were given the last moment to confer the mixed feelings that they felt throughout the Virtual Thanksgiving Day and pray together through the class conference.
Finally, Sekolah Dian Harapan Holland Village sees the end of grade level which leads to the beginning of the next journey as a moment to rejoice and give thanks to Him who has begun a good work in the lives of each student and He who will bring it to the completion. All glory and honor for Him.