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Graduation Looks Different this Year

My daughter and my best friend’s son are both graduating from high school this year.  I have the privilege of getting a first-row seat of all the changes for seniors.

I say privilege because I have been able to experience things with her that I never would have heard about if she wasn’t a senior. To say these last 4 or 5 months have been heartbreaking for seniors would be an understatement considering all that they had to miss. However, I have seen many inspiring experiences, too.

Here are some examples of the way people have gone above and beyond to make seniors feel special:

  • Someone started an “adopt a senior” Facebook page. A picture of the graduating senior is posted on Facebook (with permission) and other people in the community “adopt” them.  They buy snacks, gifts, t-shirts (from the college the senior will attend) and drop them off in a basket on the porch.  Many of the people adopting the seniors had never even met the kids.
    • On a side note, I did have a friend who offered to pack up all her sons’ things and have them ready for his new, “adoptive” parents by the morning…haha!
  • Some moms are putting on mini proms. They are transforming their backyards into an outdoor affair for about 10 to 15 kids.  Most senior girls already had their prom dresses, so everyone gets dressed up and has their own version of prom.
  • People are randomly dropping off small gift cards and notes to encourage the graduates.
  • Neighborhoods had graduation parades!

Ok, back to graduation itself…

As I looked to see what our graduation would look like at Emmaus, I watched Parkland’s graduation in anticipation.  As a parent, you spend many years watching your kids work hard in school knowing there is a big ceremony at the end where everyone celebrates together.   As time went on, it became very clear that the actual ceremony would not be happening this year when Parkland announced a virtual graduation.

When the day came, we went over to my best friend’s house with a few other people to celebrate.  The speeches were prerecorded, and every kids name flashed on the screen with a picture.

We sat down in comfortable couches, ate, drank, and chatted.  We were even able to walk around when we didn’t know that kid on the screen (and with around 700 people graduating, there were many we didn’t know).  We honestly had a great time!

And now, if I was asked which way I would rather have it, I honestly couldn’t tell you.

Not many years ago, this wouldn’t have been possible.  The technology wasn’t easily accessible for every household.  But now, streaming to a TV is simple and just about everyone has that option.

The Emmaus graduation is at the end of July and will be much like Parkland’s.  Initially, I was sad about not getting to see my daughter sit up on that stage.  Now, I am looking forward to being able to celebrate with friends and family in a relaxed, comfortable environment.

It’s different, but sometimes different is good.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Thomas Emmerth on July 2, 2020 at 6:41 am

    Hello Hillary,

    I enjoy your monthly views of “life and the times.” Thank you for sharing.

    I do miss your monthly Lunch and Learn events. Maybe after all of this pandemic stuff passes, ….

    Many groups are doing ZOOM meetings and most have been very successful. Maybe signs of the future?

    • Hillary Spear, Client Communications Manager on July 7, 2020 at 8:53 am

      Thank you so much Tom! We are working on a plan to bring back our Lunch and Learn events in the near future.

  2. Thomas Emmerth on July 2, 2020 at 6:42 am

    Hello Hillary,

    I enjoy your monthly views of “life and the times.” Thank you for sharing.

    I do miss your monthly Lunch and Learn events. Maybe after all of this pandemic stuff passes, ….

    Many groups are doing ZOOM meetings and most have been very successful. Maybe signs of the future?

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