Recycling of High School Graduation Gowns

Over the years, having worked for various charities in form of book and clothing drives, I have occasionally seen the Frankfurt International School (FIS) graduation cap and gown end up in expat families’ donations.

Some students might keep these items for sentimental reasons, others are willing to get rid off it with the next used clothing collection. Three times I had these items in one of our clothing drives and did not know what to do with them.

What a waste, I thought. Good material, only worn once, and the gown could definitely be washed or dry-cleaned and given to the next year’s student.

At that time, I sent an e-mail to school, sharing the idea of thinking green by reusing the gown and saving money as well. The caps are non-reusable as the inside’s sweatband does get dirty.

I did get a response, something of the matter “… we will look into it…” and then I completely forgot about it.

Until yesterday. When I found our son’s cap and gown stowed away, it was my turn to ask him whether he planned on keeping it (which means, going to the basement for storage) or we take it to the used clothing collection bin.

Then he informed me that FIS now takes the gowns back to be cleaned and distributed again. One also has the option of keeping it.

Caps and Gowns on High School Graduation Day

Wonderful, my idea got implemented. And we are taking his gown back to school, too.

FIS Class of 2010 Graduation Ceremony

On Saturday, 05 June 2010, I attended the Frankfurt International School graduation ceremony in downtown Oberursel.

FIS: The class of 2010 graduation ceremony Oberursel

I have been going there every year and would not miss it for the world. There is always an interesting guest speaker. This year we had Ruth E. Van Reken give a speech about Third Culture Kids. She had also been a guest lecturer at the school back in October 2009.

This two-hour program includes musical performances, scholarship awards, diplomas being handed out, speeches from students and faculty, and finalized with caps flying in the air. This adulthood rite is always the jubilant moment! School is out and over!

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Living in this international bubble community, we have become very familiar with many parents and students over the years. Some students have attended FIS all their life, while others live here temporarily.

I have attended this ceremony for over 10 years now and consider them dry runs for the time when my own children will graduate (class of 2012 and 2016). Up until now I have watched my former private students graduate and venture off into the world. Through facebook we keep in touch. They have gone off to become doctors, lawyers, and heaven knows what else.

I’d like to think  the reason for my staying here is to help them get there. Otherwise, I might be tempted into dreaming of packing up and marching down the aisle with them.

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