Cancel In-Person Graduation
Minnesota recently reached 15,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19. We will most likely not be gathering in large groups until there is a vaccine which doctors say could be over a year away. State officials have said that graduations cannot happen indoors or in sports stadiums. Knowing this, our school administration should stop pretending that an in-person graduation is going to happen.
I recognize that our school leadership wants to give us a graduation that is as normal as possible, but, at a certain point, we have to accept that that simply will and cannot happen.
With all of these red and black plans, seniors continue to believe that there is hope of an in-person graduation when the reality is that there isn’t. Our administration should be transparent with its senior class and tell them that senior year is not going to end how we wanted it to. There isn’t going to be a senior party and prom and graduation and senior celebration. That simply isn’t possible.
With the uncertainty of a graduation ceremony, we don’t even know when our senior year ends. Is it when we close our laptop lids for the last time? Or when the clock strikes 2:35 p.m. on June 4? Or is it when our previous graduation ceremony was going to be? Or when we pick up our cap and gown? Or is it the date at the end of July that probably isn’t even a viable option anymore? I would really like to have the finality of knowing when the past four years of my life are coming to a close.
And what happens when it’s mid-July and the in-person ceremony has to be cancelled? Any chance of giving seniors the recognition they deserve is over. If it’s going to have to be virtual either way, which all signs are pointing to, why not put it when our original graduation was and allow us to have some sort of finality to our last year of high school? In the event of this scenario, our school has less than two weeks to pull together a virtual graduation instead of spending all the time now to plan for one.
We should treat the situation as what it is, not what we want it to be. I don’t want to drag out this cycle of misery and disappointment over lost events any longer than we have to. Give us a concrete date for a virtual graduation ceremony. Let us finish senior year and move on.
Don’t Cancel Graduation
The departing class of 2020 has already lost so much: prom, senior traditions, saying goodbye to friends and teachers, and now we may lose the day we’ve all worked so hard to get to–graduation. After a four-year-coming-of-age-journey, the least we deserve is being able to walk down that platform and receive our diploma.
Graduation is the pinnacle of the K-12 experience, and it’s something that all seniors should be entitled to. The fact that our four years of hard work may be reduced to a short zoom call where all our names are announced or even an email with a diploma in PDF form is extremely disheartening.
Eden Prairie High School has had a long-standing tradition of student graduation speakers. This year, the school has even had students try out for the role. Being able to see our fellow classmates speak to us about our four years of high school is something we will only be able to experience at an in-person graduation ceremony.
There are many high-schools around the country continuing to hold in-person graduation ceremonies while taking necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. This includes limiting guests, wearing masks and being seated six feet apart. Our school administration should take after these schools and continue to fight for an in-person graduation ceremony.
Even if our graduation must be pushed back past the current July 1 planned date, an in-person ceremony is far more rewarding than an online graduation. The thought of celebrating my four years of high school, simply from the constraints of my house with just my parents is the last thing I want to remember when looking back on my senior year.
With our senior year being robbed from us and the countless cancellations we have already endured, the school administration should favor an in-person graduation rather than a virtual one. It’s the least they can do for us. Seniors have already missed out on what was supposed to be some of the most memorable moments of our high school experience. Don’t let graduation be one of those things too.