The Return of High School Graduation Ceremonies

Spring and early summer are usually filled with excitement, annual traditions and celebrations for seniors. At West High, one of the most popular times of the year is the Spirit Bowl, a week in which the four high school grades, ELPers, and teachers compete for the most points. However, due to COVID-19 precautions, these celebrations and traditions have been put on hold.

However, with the announcement of COVID-19 vaccines becoming available for those 16 years and older in the following weeks, could this mean that Seniors will once again be allowed to have the traditional graduation ceremony?

Last year, the class of 2020 was mere months away from graduating when West announced that school was transitioning to fully online, marking the beginning of the pandemic for most in the United States. What was supposed to have been a few weeks of quarantine soon became months, and now, a whole year.

Spirit bowl; a popular tradition among West High students, especially the Senior class, eager to win one last time before they head off was canceled the week of its date, leaving most disappointed and disillusioned. For those Seniors, Spirit Bowl wouldn’t be the only tradition canceled for them. Traditionally, Seniors celebrate their last weeks of high school with activities such as skipping school, school pranks, and celebrating their graduation with their peers. However, the class of 2020 was met with rather unfavorable conditions: they celebrated their graduation by having lawn signs with the name of the student graduating and the school, as well as a drive-by ceremony.

But is there hope for the class of 2021? As vaccinations are picking up ever more, would that mean that Seniors will have the possibility to have a more conventional graduation ceremony? Well, it’s complicated. While there is the possibility of most Seniors receiving the vaccine by the end of May, there are still those in the community who may be unable or unwilling to receive the vaccine for a number of reasons, not to mention younger children who have not been approved to receive the vaccines due to little understanding of their reaction to the vaccine.

So while the Seniors may not have the luxury to return to their traditional graduation ceremonies, the knowledge that a good portion may be vaccinated by the end of their high school career may be the light at the end of the tunnel.