Graduation Celebrations: The Social and Not-so Social Choices

Although senior high school students across the country found different ways to express their graduation exuberance on Tuesday, the defacing of school uniforms remained à la mode.

In Yogyakarta, hundreds of students of SMA 10 state high school chose to distribute nasi bungkus (rice and side dishes wrapped in banana leaves) to passersby and pedicab drivers along the city’s legendary of Jl. Malioboro.

“This initiative was our [students’] idea but we have the full support of our school,” Ulfa Feby, a student said.

She said it was more meaningful to buy and distribute nasi bungkus than to deface their uniforms.

“We will donate our uniforms to those in need,” Ulfa said.

However, the majority of students did indeed choose to deface their uniforms and partake in a motorbike convoy along the city’s streets.

The experience of finishing school was seemingly too much for some as they vented their emotions through their fists in a fight on Jl. Woltermonginsi. The ruckus involved students from state vocational high schools SMK 2 and SMK 3.

Similar scenes were echoed in neighboring Central Java province.

Although the Education Agency had asked students to stay at home, they flocked their respective schools from midday and began to vandalize their uniforms even before the results were announced at 3 p.m.

“This is once in a lifetime event. When will we be able to do this again?” Ardyanta of SMK 4 Semarang said.

Meanwhile, three SMK students in Semarang were taken custody by the local police on Tuesday for carrying bicycle chains. The students were from lower grades but they had intended to join in the “fun” with their seniors.

They were released when their parents or headmasters collected them from the police station.

Meanwhile, in Gorontalo, students of SMA 3 Gorontalo City erupted into euphoria upon finding out 100 percent of students had passed the exams.

They all signed each others uniforms and then “decorated” them with sprayed paint, only a few eschewed the activity.

“We have repeatedly asked them to donate their uniforms to the poor, but it’s up to them,” Sarjan Kase, a teacher, said.

The same view was also evident at SMA 1 Gorontalo.

Outside the school compounds, people were seen ready waiting for the students’ convoy to throw dirty water, rotten eggs and used oil on to those involved.

“It’s an annual tradition. No one should get angry,” said Yadin, a resident.

In Palembang, South Sumatra, 421 out of the total 93,807 students sitting the exam failed, an increase from 130 last year, Palembang Education Agency head Widodo said.

Nationally, 99.52 percent of 1,632,757 state high school students passed the exams, Ministry of Education and Culture Mohammad Nuh said.

“As many as 7,811 high school students failed the exams. For vocational and Islamic high schools, 99.90 percent of 1,171,907 students passed,” Nuh said as quoted by Antara news agency.

– Slamet Susanto and Suherdjoko –

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