Letters to the Editor Reader Contributed

Letter to the Editor: Why A Virtual Graduation Will Simply Never Be Enough

Hall High School graduation. June 13, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto (we-ha.com file photo)

The question that is on every senior’s mind right now is: What is the pandemic’s effect on graduation?

For surely school officials must understand how indispensable this in-person ceremony is to a class whose last bit of high school has been ripped away from them … right? It is to my dismay that I inform you that the school officials are not hearing the students of the graduating class of 2020 at this time.

According to an article recently published by we-ha.com, “at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting, Assistant Superintendent Paul Vicinus said the seniors will definitely be honored through a virtual graduation, that they will be able to have as a keepsake.”

I understand the severity of the situation at hand, and I believe it is in the Board of Education’s best interest to keep all students safe during this time, but I ask on behalf of the class of 2020, postpone graduation to a later date. This virtual graduation is simply inadequate, and if it were to be implemented, we will be sitting in our houses, devastated by the fact that we are unable to experience this moment with our friends and family. This video being a “keepsake” is almost offensive, as we would like the keepsakes from graduation to be the photos with our friends, teachers, and families, the video of us walking across the stage as our name is called, the memory of a moment that cannot be replaced.

The class of 2020 has worked extremely hard, and we deserve to have the traditional graduation ceremony those have experienced before us and those will experience after us. Many colleges and universities around the country have recognized how crucial an in-person graduation ceremony is, and have postponed the event to later in the year. So why is it that secondary schools are having trouble comprehending how necessary an in-person graduation ceremony is?

We have looked forward to this moment our whole lives. We have used graduation as an incentive when we have had to persevere. We have been told by those who have had the privilege of graduating, how special the moment is. We have grown up watching movies with graduation scenes, leading us to ponder what this moment would be like. We want the graduation that we were promised – a traditional graduation.

To those leading the virtual graduation movement I would like to say this: Remember your senior year of high school. Did you get to spend your last months before you moved away to college with your friends who you had grown up with? Did you get to say goodbye to the routine you had followed for the past thirteen years of your life? Did you get to have a last day of school? If the answer to any of these is “yes,” then not only are you incredibly lucky, but also you have experienced something that was ripped away from the class of 2020.

Imagine those moments being taken away from you within a split second and having no control over it, because that is exactly what happened to the class of 2020. We have lost our senior year that is so greatly anticipated, so the least we ask is to have the graduation that we have fantasized about our whole lives. The class of 2020 is hurting, and taking away the traditional in-person graduation ceremony will only hurt us more. So I beg you, please postpone.

Lily Perry
Hall High School, Class of 2020

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1 Comment

  • While I read the above with empathy for our current graduating seniors (all students and families really) and the difficult times we all face, I am compelled to offer some additional information, lest readers have misconceptions about the actual WHPS graduation plan. To be very clear up front, there is no virtual graduation movement. We do plan to offer a virtual graduation keepsake this year as a backstop and as something immediate. Simultaneously, we are planning along several lines of thought for something that we can do more traditionally (in person). Many of these options either differ from or postpone the traditional June celebration. Because of this, personally I feel that not providing some closure in June by way of a virtual keepsake is offensive, however, some are free disagree. All homes of graduating seniors should have received a survey to register preferences of ideas identified and offer additional suggestions. Students and families are encouraged to reach out to their principal to share additional ideas, concerns, or ask questions.

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