History of CHEM Graduation Ceremonies
In years past Christian Home Educators of Michigan was active in hosting annual homeschool conventions, Creation Science seminars, new and used curriculum fairs, and homeschool graduation ceremonies. Many of the board members individually helped in the fight for the homeschooling freedoms we enjoy in the state of Michigan today.
The first CHEM graduation was in 1994 with 11 graduates. At that time there were no caps and gowns and the planning was done late in the year. But newly elected U.S. House Representative Joe Knollenberg came to address the graduates.
In 1995, there were 12 graduates who wore royal blue gowns.
In 1996 the graduates themselves chose the colors of white, gold, and purple, which represent God’s Holiness, God’s Honor, and God’s Royalty. They also chose verses corresponding with each.
After a steady growth, the number of graduates suddenly took a giant leap from 38 in 1998 to 58 in 1999. This resulted in various changes being made to accommodate a larger number of graduates in the ceremony and many more guests at the reception.
Other changes over the years include: from black and white copied programs to purple-ink printed ones in 2000.
Due to a variety of reasons, the board members stopped being actively involved in 2001 and the hosting of various events no longer takes place, except for graduation ceremonies. Since then CHEM exists solely to host annual graduation ceremonies.
In 2003, there was a special 10-year celebration ceremony, asking past CHEM graduates to join in “Commemorating a Decade of Educational Excellence, Faithfulness, and Commitment”.
By 2004, with over 50 graduates in each of the 5 preceding years, and anticipating even more, the graduation split into two separate ceremonies – an Eastside and a Westside one. The jump to color printed programs happened this year.
The Westside Ceremony had only 16 graduates that year–nice and personal again–but, with a jump to 37 grads the very next year, a 40 graduate maximum was instituted in 2006, to insure that the ceremony stayed personal (current maximum is 30 graduates).
In 2007 the CHEM board ceased its oversight completely and CHEM is now simply a graduation committee. The graduation co-committee chairmen (currently Maribeth Schmidt and Deb Parkyn), along with the help of others who volunteer, handle the graduation details each year, much like one would do for a wedding, with a rehearsal, ceremony, and a reception, while continuing to maintain the original vision the prior board members (and their wives) set for these Christian graduation ceremonies. CHEM continued to operate with two moms coming together to host a homeschool high school graduation as a service to the local homeschool community.
In 2008, a DVD music/picture presentation was added to the ceremony, featuring the graduates’ senior and baby pictures–a very special moment of reflection for parents and guests.
In 2010, a homeschool band provided the music during the ceremony. Also, in 2010, a power point presentation was created for word projection thus adding a nice visual during the ceremony while reciting and singing.
In 2011, CHEM created a new website, CHEMgraduation.org, for easy accessing of all the graduation information in one spot.
In 2017 CHEM Eastside closed.
New technology advancements such as online payments, new website, and … started taking place in 2018.
Years of Progress
Over the years the ceremonies were held at various locations with a variety of commencement speakers (some political, some religious, some from the homeschool community, some CHEM graduates) and has endured changes, but one item has remained constant throughout the years–the parents presenting the diplomas to their children and taking the opportunity to give a public blessing to their graduates. This result has been a wonderful time of honor and blessing for graduates and parents as well as friends and family alike.