Virtual Graduation Better than Nothing

Greta Reich, Staff Reporter

“Virtual Graduation” is a new, but fairly well-used term these days. Though not nearly the same as a traditional graduation ceremony, it is certainly something that will be remembered by all those who participated and those who watched. All of today’s seniors are experiencing something never experienced before, and they are doing it with open-minds.

The class of 2020 has proven to be resilient. They not only went through all of this unluckiness, but came out on the other side still committing  to colleges, getting  jobs, and making decisions for their futures. It is for this reason that their graduation has to be something special. 

Many students and parents at Sequoia have been wondering about how graduation is going to work now that we cannot have the traditional ceremony. Sequoia’s wonderful graduation company has created the next best thing. Though it is in no way the same, a “Virtual Graduation” will be held to celebrate all of the 2020 Seniors leaving Sequoia. On June 5, at 10:00 a.m, the virtual ceremony will be uploaded to YouTube with specific slides dedicated to each senior who filled out the necessary forms (which many – unfortunately – did not). They have been given the option to make a video message to go with their picture and an audio message that will be playing over it with their name. The caps and gowns have already been distributed by parents and staff who handed them out to seniors according to their last names in a safe and orderly fashion. This process was a celebration in itself, as these parents and teachers lined the parking lot with posters, balloons, and cheers to the arriving graduates.

When explained only in  a factual manner, “Virtual Graduation” sounds bland and boring, but senior Brad Parmer-Lohan gives insight about what it really means. “It’s nowhere near what’s ideal or what was in peoples’ minds or what they were thinking was going to happen, but I think the administration and everybody at Sequoia has done a great job to put this together and everyone has really done their best to make this graduation the best it can be under the circumstances,” he says. “I think it’s going to be fun to see everybody’s video clips and the pictures they took. Having that video is going to be really nice and I’m looking forward to not having to spend however many hours in the sun.”

Though as Brad says, this graduation is not ideal, it will certainly be unforgettable. High schools around the world are doing the same as Sequoia. “Virtual Graduations” will be remembered throughout history, possibly even taught in textbooks. If this pandemic had happened fifty years ago, this type of ceremony would not be possible. Another very special thing about this graduation is that former President Barack Obama gave a commencement speech for every high school on Saturday, May 16, on several channels (ABC, CBS, NBC) and streaming platforms (Facebook, YouTube, TikTok), and included many other famous guest stars such as Malala Yousafzai, Lebron James, the Jonas Brothers and more. 

The class of 2020 may not have the memory of walking to Pomp and Circumstance in their cap and gown to collect a diploma, but they will go down in history for having the most memorable graduation ever.