Graduation in 2020

Jenna Archer, Features Editor

Since the Coronavirus pandemic has swept the world, everyone’s lives have been turned upside down. Many people are now working from home offices and students are learning in remote classrooms. Restaurants are doing curbside pick-up and grocery stores require face masks. Many lives have been affected as upcoming events and celebrations are cancelled, especially the 2020 graduating class.

With current guidelines restricting large group gatherings and encouraging social distancing, commencement ceremonies can’t take place like they have for seniors in the past. This has forced school administrators across the country to think up creative solutions that allow their community members to remain healthy while still celebrating the achievement of their students.

Some schools have tried to convert their normal ceremonies into a virtual one utilizing platforms such as zoom or Facebook live. Others are allowing students to come in one by one to walk across the stage and accept their diploma with a few family members in the otherwise empty audience.

Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School is no different!

The school recently sent out a survey to the senior class asking for their take on future possibilities for the graduation ceremony. They could rank their level of interest on a variety of options. These options included a virtual graduation, a virtual graduation with a car parade, a physical graduation scheduled for a later date, and a few others.

When the results of the survey come in, the administration will try their hardest to take these opinions into account as they try their best to arrange a commencement for the seniors. While there are no definitive answers right now as to what those plans are, some members of the graduating class weigh in with their thoughts.

Many of the students would be willing to wait for a time when it would be safe to have an in person ceremony. Katrina Wilcox thinks “We should wait until we can do some form of graduation in person, even if we have to limit the number of attendees.”

Emina Mulaosmanovic is along the same line of thinking. “As much as I want to experience graduation, I know it’s not the best thing to do now, keeping everyone safe and healthy is more important than rushing tinto graduation right now. I hope we can still have our senior events rescheduled for a later time when the situation dies down.”

Kyle Williams agrees, “My dream for graduation is as always what it was: to walk across the stage,” as well as Taylor Garofalo who says, “I hope we can have a ceremony when it is safe.”

Other students prefer the virtual approach so graduation can still occur now. “I feel that the best option for seniors is to have an online graduation, without risking people’s health. We would still be able to acknowledge students and their hard work for the past four years,” says Natalie Tarman. 

A few others favor the more creative options. For example, Brando Aristy would like to participate in a car parade. “It would be cool for every community member to be able to participate in making the day special, when they may not have been able to before,” he mentions.

Some seniors aren’t sure about what should be done, as Robin Hoy states, “Honestly I don’t know what the best option is. I’m sure there is no solution that will please everyone. But there needs to be closure for us. I’m sure that whatever happens will be better than nothing.”

While graduation is still up in the air, MASH faculty is still trying their best to honor the seniors. There are videos being posted on the Wildcat Athletics Twitter page celebrating seniors from the different athletic teams. The music department is organizing their recognition to place online on May 21.  There has also been work to put together a virtual senior award ceremony on May 28 to celebrate the hard work this class put into their academics, as well as to recognize local scholarship winners.

However Mechanicsburg’s commencement ceremony ends up taking place, the senior class of 2020 will accomplish great things far into their futures!