While Elmwood is cutting edge in terms of its technological focus and its use of the latest pedagogical approaches, the social culture of the school is also steeped in tradition. Many of the school’s signature experiences can be tied back to Elmwood’s past, such as several of our graduation ceremony traditions. These traditions not only celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates, but represent the shared values and community of Elmwood alumni. Here, you'll learn about some of the events and experiences our grads are given to wrap up their years at Elmwood.

The Rose Ceremony

The Rose Ceremony is an important, end-of-year event for our graduates where they get to reminisce on their times at Elmwood and see all the important connections they have made within the community over the years. Graduates are asked to select a younger student they have a friendship or connection with to deliver the speech to them. The Ceremony consists of a younger student, or the younger sibling of the graduate, reading a speech out to the graduate that details some memories they shared in their time at Elmwood. While the speaker delivers their speech, the screen behind them will display the student’s graduation photo and one of their baby photos. Once the speech is finished, the younger student will hand a rose to the graduate, to celebrate their achievements and to signal the beginning of something new. The purpose of this ceremony is to show our graduates the kind of impact they have had and the amazing relationships they have formed during their time here at Elmwood. It also reminds the graduates that their success is shared - everyone in the Elmwood community is relishing in their achievements. The ceremony also highlights all the growth and development that the graduates have undergone throughout their years here, with their baby photos being a poignant reminder of how far they have come. The Rose Ceremony is a lovely opportunity for students to express their pride, gratitude, and friendship towards the graduating class before the chaos of grad festivities begin.

Grad Rings

Each year, during the 100 Nights Dinner, graduates receive their class graduation ring. The ring connects the students to all the previous graduating classes, who all share a ring engraved with the Elmwood “E”. The class graduation ring is different for every graduating class,however, tying the classmates together with their own unique piece of jewellery, distinct from other years. This year, the graduation rings were made by alum Joanna Rozanski ‘03, who is a jewellery designer at Goldart Jewellery Studio. We hope that this small symbol of Elmwood will remind our grads of the times they shared and the lessons they learned while here. 

White Attire

One of the most iconic parts of Elmwood’s Senior School Closing Ceremonies is watching the grads flutter across the stage in their white dresses and attire. The tradition of wearing a white dress or outfit to graduation is long held at Elmwood, but is also a pretty common occurrence amongst all-girls schools and North American universities. While many schools participate in this tradition, each school may attach their own meaning to the white attire. At Elmwood, the white dress symbolises a variety of things. By all wearing white to graduation, the graduating class will appear as one, highlighting the experiences and the kinship they all shared through their years at Elmwood. This tradition of wearing white dresses/attire to graduation not only connects the grads to each other, but also to all the previous graduates of Elmwood. 

Not only does this connect us to Elmwoodians of times past, but also to other graduates of girls’ schools. Many all-girls schools and universities, such as Spelman College, Smith College, and Mount Holyoke University, have events that require their graduates to wear white. To share this tradition with other all-girls schools and women’s educational institutes highlights the beliefs and goals that we all share and hope to advance through women’s education. 

The colour of the dress/outfit holds symbolism, too. White often represents purity, innocence, and new beginnings. What once was a slate covered in scribbles and doodles from your years at Elmwood has now been wiped clean. By wearing white at graduation, grads are representing this blank slate, signalling their departure from Elmwood and their entrance into the adult world. 

Graduation Dinner and Garden Party

After the closing ceremonies for the year have ended, grads are invited to spend some more time with their classmates and the Elmwood community by participating in the annual Garden Party and Graduation Dinner. The Garden Party is usually held at one of the homes of a graduate, who generously invites their classmates and their families to their home to mingle and connect one last time before they all disperse for their holidays and academic adventures. Under the summer sun and snacking on appetisers, students are given the opportunity to reminisce about school memories and make some new, lasting ones with their classmates, away from the chaos of closing and graduation. 

The Grad Dinner similarly gives graduates an opportunity to spend more time with their classmates before they all go their separate ways for school. Staff and graduates’ families are also invited to this event, where they are encouraged to share their memories of the students and reflect on how far each graduate has come to reach this point. It is a very sentimental event, with teachers, parents, and students all giving speeches about how Elmwood has impacted their lives and shaped them into the young adults they are now entering the world as. This dinner is a time to reflect and reminisce with loved ones about the graduating class’ achievements and development, and to celebrate the diverse paths this year’s graduates will take.