Every year in the United States, approximately 7.2 million students will graduate from either high school or college. However, this year those 7 million students won’t have the celebratory opportunity afforded to those before and after them.
There will be no graduation ceremony this May or June. No students tossing their mortarboards soaring into the air, no cheers from family and friends, no handshakes and handing over diplomas and much more. Instead, May and June will be spent with these students stuck at home under strict quarantine rules that prevent any large gatherings, let alone one with as many people as a graduation ceremony.
While this future may seem grim, there is hope for these students to have some sort of commemorating experience. Through either the work of schools or the students themselves, many alternatives have been proposed for how to deal with graduations in the age of Coronavirus.
A Texas high school principal is brightening the day of seniors and their families by bringing their graduation to them. Scott Rudes, the principal of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, has traveled 1,500 miles over a 10-day period to congratulate each of his 240 seniors personally at their homes.
“One of our core values at our school is to ignite joy,” says Rudes. “And that is what I saw on the faces of my seniors and their families. Just a few minutes of joy in the midst of all this uncertainty.”
Videos of his appearances, which include him dancing with seniors and handing a diploma to one as she traveled head-first down a water slide — are now making the rounds on social media.
“I think it started with the fact that I am the father of a senior and I feel it,” he told KDFW. “I feel the anguish and the sadness over missing out on a lot of activities at the end of the year.”
He added: “Whatever presents in life, find the opportunity with that and run with it. That’s one of the things I think we do best at a school like ours with artists, to teach them to view the world from multiple perspectives and to be creative and expressive. I think that’s what gets them through the hard times.”
They couldn’t receive their diplomas on stage because of the Coronavirus outbreak, so he brought the graduation to them instead. A Texas high school principal traveled 1,500 miles over a 10-day period to congratulate each of his 240 seniors personally at their homes.