Eastlake, Eastside Catholic and Skyline high schools celebrated their seniors in mid-June with online ceremonies in place of the customary in-person experiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eastlake and Skyline both held their graduation ceremonies live on YouTube, while Eastside Catholic held individual graduation ceremonies that will be compiled into a YouTube video for later distribution on their website.
Eastlake and Skyline’s YouTube ceremonies were similar to each other and included many aspects of a traditional ceremony. Student and teachers gave speeches. Choirs, bands and orchestras performed. Skyline announced the names of each senior as their pictures were viewed on screen. Included were the senior’s plans for the future and quotes from a few of the seniors. Eastlake’s video contained pictures of the graduates in their caps and gowns, with the students’ names on screen.
For the most part, the feedback on the virtual graduations was positive. The seniors were glad to finally graduate, but many were disappointed in missing the last quarter of their senior year and not having a traditional graduation.
Archie Carman, 18, from Eastlake High School admitted the ceremony did incorporate everything that a normal ceremony would have.
“It is just sad to see all of the hard work that seniors have done in the past four years put into a single video that does not capture their greatness,” he said.
Skyline High School senior Evelyn Shim, 18, was glad that they got something rather than nothing. She appreciated Skyline’s efforts to create an alternative graduation experience for her class.
“I know all seniors were hoping for an in-person gathering, but it was nice to see everyone in the slideshow,” Shim said. “Of course, it is a bummer, and missing out on this moment in our lives has been tough.”
Eastside Catholic held individual graduation ceremonies from June 16 to 18. The families of the graduating seniors scheduled the date and time to go to school for a walk in their cap and gown along a red carpet to the stage. Graduates picked up their high school diploma and then flipped their tassel from right to left. A professional photographer took a picture, and the graduate could also take a selfie in a photo booth.
“I thought the graduation was very different,” Dumebi Onianwa, 18, from Eastside Catholic said. “I liked how I could be surrounded by family and still be able to walk across the stage and pick up my diploma. But I definitely would have loved to have graduated with my class and see them all one last time as an EC community.”
Needless to say, these graduating seniors missed out on many senior events and are understandably disappointed. But the graduates and their families are still grateful to their schools for taking the time and effort to put together something to celebrate them.