Guys, I'm late," shouts the girl, who designed a graduation poster for her big sister. Her friends rush over and try to get a clearly visible place on the fence of the Schiller School. The poster shows the alienated logo of the "Bierkönig", a party location in Mallorca. Instead of the king, there is a portrait drawing of the high school graduate, with a tankard in her hand, the slogan is "High School Queen". The sister has omitted the name as a precaution: "She will recognize herself!"

Rainer Schulze

Editor in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

  • Follow I follow

The clock shows ten past one, but not all of them have adhered to the school management's requirement not to hang up the posters until 13:15 p.m. The Abitur starts this Wednesday, and everyone should have the same chances to get a highly visible Abitur poster. But most other parents or friends weren't that fair. There is hardly a gap left on the fence.

Don't risk embarrassment

Kathrin and Peter Schönwandt are lucky. The school management also releases the section in front of the entrance door, directly above the lettering of the grammar school in Sachsenhausen. "We got a premium place by chance," says the father. So Viktor can hardly miss his poster when he writes his exams in the next two weeks. His father works as a graphic designer, and he had the motif printed on sturdy truck tarpaulins, with tear-resistant eyelets.

Most parents have opted for the printed version, the painted sheets are in the minority. Viktor can be seen on the poster in a winning pose: He practices rowing as a competitive sport, the photo shows him after winning a regatta. In addition, the saying "Good luck for the final". His parents have discussed this with him, mother Kathrin reveals. It is true that the surprise is then lost. But it is even more important that the poster is not embarrassing for the children.

The Schönwandts have cable ties and wire with them. They already have experience with the design and installation of graduation posters. Viktor is their third child, to whom they send their good wishes for the exam phase in this way. The posters are a nice tradition, the mother thinks: "When are you still involved as a parent these days?" She is surprised that the custom of hanging up "motivational posters" only exists in the region.

Posters from more than 25 years

Where they come from and how the Abi posters have developed can be found out until May in a small exhibition in the Hugendubel branch on Steinweg. Stefan Jakob and Martin Berthoud, who as "district historians" of the Polytechnic Society have dealt with the tradition of Abi posters, will present the results of their research there. On display are 25 posters from more than 25 years. Most of them come from the Wöhler School, where her research began. But they also analyzed and categorized around 600 posters from twelve other Frankfurt schools from the class of 2022.

The posters are "a ritual for a change into a new phase of life," according to the curators. The texts and images often revolve around the themes of freedom and struggle. Sporting allusions also appear again and again. Pop culture references change over time, from The Simpsons to Disney characters and superheroes to series characters. Some are particularly artistically demanding and quote van Gogh or Banksy.