From the beginning of high school, the seniors had been looking forward to the white dresses and rose petals that announced that high school was officially over. We’d planned on having the traditional graduation ceremony for four years, we’d spent hours working with Ms. Ortega deciding what our dresses should look like, and then, COVID-19 took all that we’d looked forward to away.
Luckily, Flintridge Sacred Heart found a way to keep the tradition alive while practicing social distancing. Even in the midst of the pandemic, we still got to walk down the red carpet and throw our rose petals into the sky.
We arrived at school during designated times and then waited in our cars for the person in front of us to finish. Then, we walked up to Nurse Kathy and received a bouquet of flowers. Mrs. Johnston then led us to the red carpet and walked us in front of all the cameras. We stepped in front of a green screen and threw our rose petals into the air, also in front of cameras. The next part (you guessed it! in front of cameras) was when we received our “diplomas” (the real ones are to be shipped in the mail after the school year ends) from our parents. And finally, after getting our diplomas, we put on our caps and gowns and went over to Ms. Singer and Ms. Contreras to get our cords and awards, while of course posing for a few more photos, including one where we threw our (decorated!) caps in the air.
With latex gloves on instead of satin ones, only our parents there instead of our entire families, this was not the graduation we had dreamed about, but we still made the most of the moment. Since we couldn’t all be together, each graduate’s experience was a little different. The Veritas Shield spoke to a couple of seniors to get their take on the COVID-style FSH graduation.
Christina Perasso: While this graduation was not what I had envisioned earlier this year, I am thankful that FSH gave us an opportunity to graduate while upholding some of the normal traditions. The revised version of the graduation ceremony was super sweet and well organized. They [the school’s administrators] really have outdone themselves with the ways they have supported the seniors during this pandemic.
Kristen Asmar: I think the revised graduation was probably the best solution, considering all of the circumstances. It’s nice to dream about being six feet apart and doing graduation like normal, but when you think of every aspect of graduation, that just wasn’t realistic. I like how they tried to keep traditions alive, especially the throwing of the rose petals and getting handed our diploma. I just really hope we can do something in July because I want to see everyone. Overall, I am just happy we got one because most schools just flat out canceled their graduations.
Maddy Williams: I think FSH is doing a lot, but I’m not sure this was the best way to go about graduation specifically. I’ve definitely been thinking about it, and I’m not sure that we as students could have come up with an effective alternative plan. I think the most important thing is to honor the moment, and the school was really trying to do that, but there is nothing anyone can do that will give us the equivalent of an in-person gathering.
Sarah Peck: When I first found out about what FSH was doing for our graduation, I was disappointed. I felt like the school wasn’t doing everything it could. However, that changed after my graduation on Friday. I felt fortunate that FSH was doing something for us, whereas other high schools don’t even get graduation, or everyone just drives up and gets their diploma. I felt really grateful to go to a school that cares so much about its students.
Quin Van de Voorde: While I feel like the school did the best it could, I have no real emotions about graduation at all. While at graduation, I felt very loved and celebrated by the school, but there were some awkward times. Overall, though, it was a fun experience. I am, however, more excited about the graduation plans we have in the future that FSH has discussed with us taking place in July or December.
Emily Gomez: When I first opened the box that held my graduation dress, I thought, “There is no way I am wearing this.” Then, as graduation came closer, I realized I had to wear it, and I am happy I did. Graduation this year was the best the school could do, and it’s honestly a lot more than what other schools are getting. Personally, I loved all of it. I think it will be more memorable for our class than normal graduation.
Ferryn Drake: I know it’s hard to not think about what graduation should have been, but honestly, I am very grateful. I think our school and administration went above and beyond to make us feel special during these saddening times. There are many schools that are just sending out diplomas in the mail and that’s it, while FSH has put a lot of work into making graduation feel more joyful. I am sad I couldn’t be with my whole grade for that special moment, but I am thankful for what the school has given us.