As few students stop formal education in eighth grade anymore, eighth grade promotion ceremonies are on the decline. They used to be a very important milestone, back in the days before there was mandatory school attendance for those under age 16. However, with many schools housing middle school classes and high school in the same building, the transition is not as large as it used to be.
“In the past, many people’s education ended at eighth grade,” Jackson said. “Now, it just seems irrelevant and outdated.”
Other school districts have also discontinued the practice. “We’ve gone beyond the days where a lot of people stop their education at eighth grade,” said Altamont Unit 10 superintendent Jeff Frichtnich. He said that there was little public protest.
“We let the public know about it about a year in advance,” he said. “There was no fight about it.”
Some schools still do hold the ceremony, but it is not seen as a major event. Rather, it celebrates a completion of one benchmark, and the start of high school careers.