My COVID Times Diary – A Socially Distant Graduation
As someone who works in education, there is one annual milestone that is a huge deal and that’s graduation. The culmination of the efforts of the students, a moment of recognition for them and their families. An opportunity to gather and celebrate with their family, friends and teachers. A chance to express their gratitude to everyone who helped them achieve this goal.
One of the things the our COVID Times has done is all but eliminate large gatherings. So traditional graduations have fallen by the way side. There have certainly been some creative ways in which schools have tried to celebrate their graduates. There have been virtual graduations online, graduations at race tracks, delivered diplomas and even drive-in graduations.
This past week I got to experience one of these personally. Hudson High School in New York, my old high school, held a virtual high school graduation and my oldest niece participated, I wrote about her last week. Living in California meant that I had to get up at 5:30AM to watch the ceremony online but it was absolutely worth it.
The school did a fantastic job, as you can see from the photos, the graduates were spaced following social distancing rules on chairs on the football field. The parents, were asked to wait in their cars and were called to the stands corresponding to the row that there student was in. So every student’s parents got to view the moment their student collected their diploma, got to cheer for them and take a picture. On stage the moment they got their diplomas was the one moment they got to take their masks off. A small moment of normalcy in a very not normal senior year.
There were a few things missing, no speeches by the valedictorian or faculty, no mingling with friends and families but the students did get to have a graduation. And my niece got to cross the stage, get her diploma and smile for a picture. It was great to see people cheering for all the students including my niece, in the comment section.
It was a wonderful day and a really creative way for the students to be celebrated. ~ Michael ‘Rev’ Kane