Graduation Updates


Mira Bohannan Kumar

Graduation plans remain up in the air as COVID-19 cancels many events

Shoshie Hemley, News editor

With the many cancellations happening due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the landmark events for many seniors that is still in question is the graduation for the class of 2020. 

“It’s so frustrating to come so close to the culmination of everything I’ve been working for. It’s also just jarring to realize how much was going for us and how much we did have before we lost it,” Reese Hill ‘20 said. “It was just kind of the way with everything. I was looking forward to commencement but I wasn’t super excited about it.”

Graduation, an event that many seniors look forward to, may be canceled. For many seniors, they have had their senior prom, senior musical, or senior sports season cancelled. 

“I was just so excited to be done with senior year, but now that none of that’s happening it’s just like, well that really sucks, and I’m kind of realizing how important those little things are but also how not important they are,” Hill said. “It just depends on how we put value to them. And I say that is if I’m somebody who’s wise and has adjusted well which I haven’t. And I’m not over it, but hopefully I’ll get there at some point.”

Many seniors feel that getting to be handed their diploma in their cap and gown is the proof of their years of work and the ending of their high school careers. 

“There’s just this feeling of just kind of dissipating out, and not getting to say goodbye to people, and there’s not really any closure,” Hill said.

Phong Nguyen ‘20 feels the same way. 

“I mean every senior wants to graduate, I think that right now that’s the only thing they want to do, except I’m not sure how it’s gonna work,” Nguyen said.

The district is still formulating plans to figure out what will happen with graduation. City High Principal John Bacon sent out a call to seniors in mid-April asking students and parents alike what solutions they’d propose for graduation, while still adhering to social distancing rules. 

“Right now we are in a kind of gathering input and brainstorming phase. We had an administrative council meeting. We started generating some ideas together, then we agreed to solicit feedback from students and families,” Bacon said. “I recorded a message to seniors and I asked for input and I received a great deal of input and that has been really helpful to take the temperature a little bit on where people that took the time to respond stand on the issue and what suggestions they have. That was really helpful.”

The district is still deciding whether or not to have a virtual graduation or to simply postpone it until the summer. The district had a meeting on April 28 where they decided to set a date far out in the summer to hold a graduation ceremony if social distancing measures are lifted by then. If social distancing measures aren’t lifted by then, however, there will most likely be a virtual option with a one by one drive-thru. There would also be a photo opportunity aspect for students to take photos in their cap and gowns and receive their diplomas.

“The number one goal is that we have committed, if at all possible, to try to have a regular, more traditional, graduation ceremony. So if the restrictions are lifted and it is considered to do so that’s the district’s number one goal,” Bacon said.

Bacon, as well as the school district, wants to find a solution for the seniors. 

“Graduation is a rite of passage, that is a very important ceremony in the lives of students and their families and I think we really need to get it right when it comes to handling this in the best possible manner,” Bacon said.

Schools around the district are honoring their seniors by handing out yard signs to the homes of students in the class of 2020. Additionally, there is an Instagram account honoring where seniors will be attending college.

 “I honestly love the yard signs because I didn’t realize how many seniors actually live in my neighborhood. It’s gratifying to just see it out in my yard and remind myself that I’m a senior,” Hill said. “I think the Instagram account is really great too because now that we’re not in person can’t tell each other their college decisions the same way. You can text people but it’s not quite the same. I really love that account, and even though I’ve looked it over 1000 times and I know where everybody’s going, I feel like looking through it sometimes just to think about it and be proud of the people I know.”

Nguyen reminds himself that, although this is a tough time for seniors, it’s a rough time for many people globally. 

“I know almost everyone around the world is experiencing the same things. I am very humbled by that, and it’s comforting to know that you’re not going through this alone,” Nguyen said. “But it still sucks because we’ve known that everything is canceled and a lot of our expectations are not there for what we planned through for our entire senior high school careers. It kind of got ruined.”

For many seniors, there is also the question of what their future will hold if they plan on attending college and what will be happening for their freshman year in the fall. 

“I feel like our class is in a strange position because I’m really worried about starting college in the fall, and whether I’ll have to start online,” Hill said. “We’re in a sucky place that we’re transitioning in, but at the same time, it’s kind of a good time to be in college because everybody’s in this together and I think that’s one thing we’re all forgetting here.”