This whole COVID-19 experience has changed the way I do so many things and even the time in which I experience those things that have been held in honored tradition.
In some ways I was even beginning to feel cheated.
I was looking forward to sharing my granddaughter’s high school graduation and getting to see those treasured prom pictures.
Those are things that are supposed to happen in sequence.
The senior prom is an event that takes months of planning before the time arrives, in early spring.
There should be so much fanfare leading up to the event.
Then about a month later, there would be graduation. The graduates would march up to the platform in cap and gown to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” to receive their diplomas.
But Shyann kept reporting that things were put on hold.
Like all other schools in Indiana, Shyann’s school was shut down in March with the announcement of the onslaught of the virus. The classroom was abandoned, and lessons became a virtual experience with students going online to get their lessons, turn in homework and ask questions. That seemed to work out well for students until it became apparent no one knew when this was going to end and things would return to normal. In fact, no one really knew what our new normal was going to be.
Shyann said they kept her informed but couldn’t really give definite answers on what would happen with the ceremonies. At first, they thought they might be delayed for two or three weeks, then a month, then two months.
Finally, in mid-June I got the word: Graduation day would be July 1 at the high school and would be held outside. Each student could attend with four guests. They all should arrive in the same vehicle and go to their assigned pods.
It looked as though the weather would be perfect, if you didn’t count the heat and humidity.
I was so proud to be one of Shy’s guests; but as the hour of graduation approached, I knew I wouldn’t do well in the heat. I stayed home to pout about my day.
I wanted so badly to be there to see her graduate and throw that cap into the air.
Then she told me I could watch it live. It was going to be streaming on YouTube.
I would like to say I am tech-savvy, but that would be a real stretch. And so I set about trying to get online and, lo and behold, I got it.
It was an awesome experience watching my granddaughter going to the platform to get her diploma.
She was wearing her cap and gown, and it was as formal as could be expected.
When they called her name, she and her four guests rose from their seats — her mom and dad, grandpa and cousin. They walked to the front of the platform where they split up; Shy went on the platform, and her guests waited at the other end for pictures to be taken.
And it was almost as good as being there after I figured out how to chat with others who were attending via the internet.
It was so awesome. There were instant congratulations coming in from friends and family around Daleville, Anderson, Indianapolis, and even New York, Arizona, Kentucky and California.
It may not have been practical to try that with a very large school, but with Shy’s graduating class of 57 members, it was just fine. They actually reminded everyone they were minus one graduate, Jarrod A. Imel, who had enlisted in the military and reported for boot camp before graduation day.
I know many schools got creative with their ceremonies and tried to give kids as much of the senior experience as they could in this time of international crisis, and I hope all have taken time to thank those who did.