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The graduation ceremony is a perfect example of a non-religious rite of passage. The graduates enter in solemn procession. Unique clothing to the ceremony is worn, a gown and cap (or mortar board). During the graduation ceremony, a key note speaker addresses the audience, usually with a pledge or challenge for the graduates to reflect upon.
The graduates are called by name to receive their diploma, a symbolic representation of the completion of their learning, and often the graduates will shake the hand of the principal or dean upon receiving the diploma. In many graduation ceremonies, the graduates sing their school song one last time and are instructed to move the tassels on their mortar board to the opposite side, signifying their graduation. The ceremony concludes with the throwing of the graduates' caps, a symbolic and celebratory gesture of leaving their school days behind. Thus all three stages of separation, transition, and incorporation are displayed.
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