The issue: Pandemic limits schools traditional graduations

Our opinion: Using creativity while still honoring graduates

High school graduation is more than just completion of 12 years of schooling. In many ways, it is a symbol of having become an adult, of transitioning into another level in society.

The graduation ceremonies are symbolic of this transition. A student comes into the ceremony still a high school student, but exits a full-fledged adult, diploma in hand.

The structure of these ceremonies is set up to use the pageantry as symbolic of the transition, from the familiar, elegant “Pomp and Circumstance” as entrance or exit march for the graduates to the official ceremonies that often include speeches from dignitaries, recognition of special graduates, and the presentation of diplomas.

But this year, the virus has intruded. Large gatherings create the risk of spreading the potentially deadly disease. But students are finishing high school just like every other year, so the graduation ceremonies must go on. But they will go on without the typical structure of students gathering in one location with parents in the stands observing.

This year, the school system is using a bit of creativity and cars. While there are some small differences due to the location of the different schools, the ceremonies will follow a similar pattern. Students and their families will arrive in cars and be staged. When the time comes for students to receive their diplomas, students will exit the cars and move to the stage. Families will remain in their cars, and when their child walks across the stage they will be able to drive to the front of the stage for a clear view of the ceremony.

Families will not be allowed to exit their cars during the event, but there will be a professional photographer to get graduation photos. Videos will be made of the event, and that evening students can watch a virtual graduation, along with speeches, welcomes and comments from school administrators.

This event will be different from the traditional graduation, but it will be a formal ceremony celebrating the accomplishments of students. Students will be recognized. Close family members will be able to see the student walk across the stage, and the student will have the opportunity to be recognized for completing this milestone.

In addition to school-sponsored activities, the Chronicle is hosting a virtual graduation page that includes photos and personal information provided by graduates. Family and friends can visit the page and congratulate them with personal messages. Visit https:www.chronicleonline.com/virtual_graduations to take part.

Kudos to those planning the events for not letting the coronavirus deprive county young people of the opportunity to celebrate this important event in their lives, and congratulations to those who are finishing high school during these most challenging times.