Virtual Graduation for Class of 2020

Freddy Ortiz, News Editor

When I first entered the halls of Joliet West, I envisioned a rose-colored campus life. I figured I’d meet lovely people, admirable teachers, and maybe get a girlfriend; I can check everything off except the latter. However, much like everyone on this planet, I didn’t expect to have the final chapter–senior year–stripped away. Instead of roaming the musky halls or sitting in familiar classes with familiar faces, I’m home listening to Governor Pritzker deliver the final blow to it all: school is out of session.

I can’t say I’m shocked. Health officials have all painted a rather bleak picture. With the school year coming to a close and the board of education decreeing, there’s no graduation ceremony this May. Was it all for naught? According to our principle, perhaps not.

While major events that typically have seniors foaming at the mouth such as graduation, prom, senior awards, and signing day are stuck in limbo, we have hope in the form of Virtual Graduation.

Gibson, in her letter to the graduating class of 2020, writes, “On May 29 at 7 p.m., we will host a virtual graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 via live stream. The event will be filled with pomp and circumstance.” 

The prospect of having a ceremony at all is comforting. Hopefully, this “pompness” is enough to blast my face with dopamine because, honestly, graduating from my bed is iffy.

Currently, the higher echelon of staff is discussing how to provide grads with cap and gowns. I know they’re doing their best to uphold tradition, but I’d love to graduate while wearing my unicorn pajamas and ACDC t-shirt. It’d be hilarious.

The virtual event will include the traditional elements of normal graduation: recognitions, Alpha Omega speeches, and the reading of graduate names. Upon the event’s closing, superintendent Dr. Guseman will proclaim our class as official JTHS District 204 graduates. In Gibson’s letter, it’s stated we’re encouraged to throw our caps in the air. I’ll make sure to have my ceiling fan on.

When all is said and done, a link to the live stream video will be provided so students can share the event with family and friends and forever cherish the peculiar–yet special–day. 

In regards to the virtual event, senior and athlete Jullian Rosenbach states, “Nothing can replace it. It will be so different because our family won’t be there to walk down the aisle with us. However, I do appreciate the school’s effort in trying.”

We’re living in very uncertain times. With the stay-at-home order at a constant flux, a virtual graduation is the best we can get. While that sounds grim, there’s a silver lining. Gibson writes, “We still hope that we can hold a formal ceremony in June or July. With that said, there is a chance that your class will get TWO graduations: a virtual one in May and an in-person one over the summer.” 

Essentially, in addition to a senior week consisting of prom and senior awards, we can expect graduation to finish it off.  Hopefully, our pandemic clears up to allow such. At the very least, our school cares and is looking to provide some semblance of normalcy during this peculiar period.