Davis High seniors struggle to come to terms with a virtual graduation

PHOTO: Seniors this year will attend a virtual graduation due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. The link to the graduation video will be released on June 12.

By Juju Miyamoto,

BlueDevilHUB.com Staff–

As the Davis High spring semester continues through distance learning, the trend of virtual connection will continue with the graduation for the class of 2020. Following a lawn signing and a cap-and-gown pick-up weeks prior, the virtual graduation will take place at 7 p.m. on June 12.

According to senior Sophia Fingerman, the senior class president, the virtual graduation will look different from the weekly WebEx class meetings students are used to attending. 

“Graduation is going to be a prerecorded video that highlights each student that participates. It’s not actually live, rather, a link will go live at a certain time, and students can watch the graduation ceremony. It will have all the highlights of graduation: speeches, a keynote speaker, a senior song, and names will be read out,” Fingerman said. 

The senior team in student government has been working alongside the administrative graduation team to coordinate the vision for how the professional media team should present the video. 

However, prior to landing on the decision to hold a virtual graduation, a couple senior class members pushed for alternative ways to have a graduation. Some students expressed their ideas through sending out electronic petitions to friends, advertising through social media to add their names to the document. 

Senior Sydney Moore, on the other hand, decided to compile her ideas of other ways to host a safe, social-distanced graduation into a letter to the administration.

“I needed them to know how I felt and how frustrated I was with the whole process. I felt, as a student government member and just as a student, that my voice wasn’t heard,” Moore said. “I got a response back but it seemed to me as the board and administration were just trying to pacify me and my ideas and feelings weren’t taken seriously.”

Nonetheless, due to health risks outlined in orders issued by the State of California and the Yolo County Department of Public Health, the district maintained its stance on hosting a virtual graduation.

In a digital letter to the class of 2020 on April 28, Principal Tom McHale acknowledged the struggles of the senior class and announced the virtual graduation.

“We know this is hard and so we are writing specifically to our seniors and as well to your families to let you know we have been pondering how we can create a graduation that will celebrate your relationships, achievements and this rite of passage. To ensure we can still celebrate the class of 2020 graduation, [DHS] is hosting a virtual graduation,” McHale said.

Seniors recognize the surrounding conditions, but some, like senior Graham Segel, are expressing their frustration.

“It sucks that it has to be virtual but I understand that administration can’t postpone it because they can’t predict the future. I hope they can somewhat remedy it by facilitating more senior events that institute social distancing in collaboration with stud gov,” Segel said.

Both Moore and Fingerman view graduation as closure for the work they have done the past 18 years and are unsure whether the virtual graduation will produce the same meaning to them. 

“We watched our peers and siblings get to experience it all. We worked so, so hard. This situation is not fair, and nothing I say will make it fair,” Fingerman said. “But what I’ve seen from my class the past few weeks is inspiring. People are throwing their own social-distance proms and birthday parties; they’re DM-ing stud gov with ideas. The class of 2020 is showing how resilient, innovative and positive they are.”

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