Graduation: SMA Style

Graduation at San Marcos Academy involves several traditions that have been part of the graduation experience for decades. Following is a list of the activities in which seniors will take part. Parents and families are welcome to any or all of these events.

JROTC Federal Awards Ceremony

Thursday, May 2, 4:30 p.m. in the Shultz Lecture Hall

All JROTC cadets will participate in the Federal Awards Ceremony in the Shultz Lecture Hall.  Selected senior girls will assist in the presentation of awards. Students, parents, and friends are welcome to attend.

Ribbon Ceremony

Thursday, May 9, 5:30 p.m. in the Prayer Garden, adjacent to the RCC

Junior and Senior girls gather for the pre-graduation ribbon ceremony.

This pre-graduation ceremony is particularly for our junior and senior girls. The senior girls, wearing white summer dresses, form a circle outside in the prayer garden, holding a special ribbon that has been handed down for many years. The junior girls, in their dress uniforms, form a circle behind the seniors, standing close to their big sisters. Several readings, short addresses and songs are presented by the girls, and the culmination of the event is the passing of the ribbon from the senior girls to the junior girls, symbolizing that the juniors are taking over the mantle of leadership as the rising Senior Class. We encourage girls in ninth and tenth grades to attend this ceremony, along with the senior boys, in support of the junior and senior girls. Students and families are welcome to eat supper in the Dining Hall after the event (prior to the Awards Ceremony). Guests can charge the meal to their student’s account or pay at the door.

End-of-Year Academy Awards Program

Thursday, May 9, 7:30 p.m. in the RCC

The class of 2002 receives their awards at the End-of-Year Academy Awards Program.

Students receive a variety of awards at the End-of-Year Academy Awards program, including academic, residential, athletic, fine arts, and alumni service awards. A highlight of the program is the presentation of the Senior Montage, featuring baby/elementary age photos and the senior yearbook photo for each senior. All Middle and Upper School students attend this program. Senior girls wear the summer white dress and senior boys wear a suit and tie. All other students in grades 6-11 should wear the school dress uniform.

Baccalaureate Service and Ascension Ceremony

Friday, May 10, 7:00 p.m. in the Robinson Christian Center (RCC)

Students and staff gather in the chapel for the Baccalaureate Service and Ascension Ceremony.

The Baccalaureate is a special Christian church/chapel service in honor of our seniors on the eve of graduation day. A speaker gives a sermon during the service, which usually also includes a congregational song and special music. The seniors will file in wearing suits and ties (boys) and suits with hats and gloves (girls) and will sit in a reserved section at the front of the auditorium. Students sit by classes and will be wearing their dress uniforms. Following the Baccalaureate, we will hold the annual SMA Ascension Ceremony. This is the official “promotion” ceremony for students in grades 5-11 as they “rise” from their current class grade to the class they will be part of next year. In the Lower School, only the fifth grade will participate in the Ascension. The seniors will line up at the front of the auditorium to witness the ascension of each class of students.

Rose and Sabre Ceremony

Saturday, May 11, 9:00 a.m. in the Prayer Garden/Senior Gate area, adjacent to the RCC

Two students walk through the Senior Gate at the Rose and Sabre ceremony.

This very special ceremony for all seniors marks the only time during the year when the Senior Gate is unlocked. Senior boys escort the senior girls through this historic gate to signify their passage from adolescence into adulthood. As each couple passes through, the announcers share the students’ achievements and accomplishments, along with their plans to attend college or pursue other fields of study, service or work. The girls wear summer white dresses, while the boys wear their dress military uniform or a tuxedo. Girls carry a yellow rose, and the senior cadets wear a sabre. Many seniors view this ceremony as one of the highlights of their time at the Academy. Seating is limited, so parents of seniors may want to arrive early.


Saturday, May 11, 3:00 p.m. in the RCC

The graduating class of 2006 gathers for the commencement ceremony.

From the beginning of the school year, all seniors look forward to that moment when they cross the stage to receive their diplomas. The 111th annual Commencement for San Marcos Academy will create lasting memories for the Senior Class. All seniors will report by 2:00 p.m. to the school library for a group photograph and to line up and prepare for the graduation processional. Families will want to find their seats in the RCC early; we will reserve some areas specifically for senior families, so be sure to tell the student ushers you are a senior parent. The Commencement program includes an address to the students by a distinguished individual. Attire for senior girls for this event is a pure-white, floor-length gown that must be approved by the Dean of Girls. Boys will wear either the dress JROTC uniform or a tuxedo that is provided by San Marcos Academy.

Class of 2019 Reception

Saturday, May 11, following Commencement in the Dining Hall

Following Commencement, the Bear Network will host a reception in the Dining Hall to honor the Class of 2019. We invite everyone at Commencement to drop by and celebrate with our graduates.

Note: The Sabre Bookstore will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Check by for our graduation week specials!