After almost three months of quarantine and online school, my son finally graduated. It wasn’t what we were expecting, but it was very meaningful.
The graduation began in the morning, when our family sat together to watch the ceremony online. The principal congratulated the seniors, the valedictorians shared jokes and memories of their four years, then each graduating senior’s photo and future plans were listed on the screen. It was fun to listen to my son talk about his friends and the wide variety of schools the students planned to attend.
A few hours later, we loaded the family into the car and headed to the school. We were told to drive a loop around the school anytime during a two-hour window. We made the mistake of thinking the line would be shorter, if we showed up later. After three and a half hours of inching along in our car, we finally made it to the front of the high school and the graduation entrance.
The long wait wasn’t too bad, with staff members, teachers, coaches and student council members spaced out around the high school, cheering and saying farewell. The seniors were handed gift bags with T-shirts, handmade face masks and other small presents. The walls of the school were decorated with posters of congratulations and encouragement. Because we moved so slowly, my son took the opportunity to get out of the car and take a few pictures with seniors in nearby cars.
At the front of the school, we were ushered out of our car and through the halls of the school into the gymnasium. As my son walked to the stage, a member of the administration greeted him with a warm elbow bump and sent him up the stairs. Dressed in his cap and gown, he received his diploma and we took pictures from a safe distance, well over six feet away.
A few months ago, I didn’t think a graduation ceremony would be possible. My son didn’t think it would happen either. He wouldn’t even go to the school in April to pick up his cap and gown. I’m glad we were both wrong (and I picked it up for him).
I am so grateful the high school made this graduation happen and helped our family celebrate this important educational milestone. This was a graduation that will not be forgotten.