Graduation Through the Screen?
This year, 2020, has taken a huge unexpected turn. COVID-19, for many, felt like it came out of nowhere changing and took away plans, events, gatherings, and just in general everyday life occurrences for people across the United States. As COVID-19 started to affect the US during mid-March with at first the thought of only lasting a couple weeks, to then a month, to then two months, to where we are now, June. For many students this meant that almost half their school year was taken away from them, leaving the graduating classes without proper closure from their school career.
This year, many students from the class of 2020 won’t get their formal graduation at their school with all their classmates by their side to close this chapter of their life, but schools are finding ways to still give these students some kind of closure. Although it is definitely not the same or the way planned originally, NHS is holding what they call a “virtual graduation.”
Holding a virtual graduation for the NHS graduating class was a result of the social distancing rules in NJ and the capacity of people you could have in one area, making an in-person one not possible. The NHS virtual graduation ceremony is being held on June 24th where each senior will graduate from their own home and online. “Virtual Graduation is a process, we are in the process of recording speeches, music, and graduating senior headshots with their names," says NHS Principal, Mr. Williams. "We are also going to include a bunch of special footage (I don't want to give away any spoilers). I am very grateful to Mr. Conte, Mr, Viemeister and all folks who contributed to this. It has taken a while to put together.”
NHS staff and technology professionals, Mr. Conte and Mr Viemeister, want to give what these students deserve under these uncontrollable circumstances. They want to make sure that this is still a memorable and special ceremony for their students.
A virtual graduation is going to be a first time experience, it is still going to be a huge moment in these graduates' lives, with it definitely being an unforgettable one. “The fact that graduation is taking place virtually is exciting,” says Mr. Joseph Materia, NHS Vice Principal. “It is a representative event that the NHS will continue to celebrate student achievement and adapt accordingly when necessary.” With the technology available to us in this day of age, it allows these students to still get a ceremony to celebrate their academic achievements and the completion of their 12 years in schooling.
Each day during this pandemic, continuous changes are being made when it comes to quarantine, social distancing, places closing or reopening, if you should wear a mask and gloves, etc., and has been continuing for the last three months. As it is now June, rules are starting to become less restrictive and life is starting to open back up again. Although it is not totally back to "normal" yet, Mr. Williams says, "We will be getting information out on a "senior" Parade on June 22nd and an in-person event in July (details to follow). The struggle has been to deal with social distancing rules and crowd size limits."
In general, 2020 will go down in history, but so also will the graduates of the 2020 classes throughout the world. Of course, a virtual graduation won’t be exactly the same, but it doesn’t change the fact that these students are graduating and moving on to adulthood. COVID-19 might have been able to take away the event that came with graduating high school, but NHS made sure it wasn’t able to take away the meaning and value of it.