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My Daughter's Virtual Graduation

Ellen Levitt

Posted on June 26, 2020 01:40

3 users

My younger daughter graduated from high school via an online ceremony. It was very different than the in-person ceremonies we've attended previously.

Social distancing has impacted nearly every aspect of life, and school commencement exercises have certainly been changed this season. Today we watched my younger daughter's high school graduation on the computer and it was such a different experience.

This is typically a big deal for any family, but I admit it was especially momentous for me. I graduated from Brooklyn's Edward R. Murrow High School in 1982; my brother did in 1984; my older daughter did in 2018. So for my younger daughter it would have been a wonderful family track record. 

Michelle didn't even attend her older sister's graduation, held at the beautiful old and restored Kings Theatre, because she was away at sleep away camp. Then when we found out that due to the pandemic, Michelle would have an online ceremony. I was so disappointed; she acted like she didn't care, but I think she did.

The kids didn't have prom, Senior Awards Night was just a list posted to Instagram and Facebook, and other activities were scrapped or brought online. However, two weeks ago we were allowed to pick up packages of Senior swag-- sash and gown, mortarboard and tassel, yearbook, school mug, baseball cap, diploma case and other cute items. Sometime in the future, we'll pick up the diploma as well as final transcript and a towel.

I cajoled my daughter into wearing the cap and gown, and posing for pictures in our backyard. She insisted on wearing her sunglasses and sandals, and looking chill, but I got nice photos from the session. I'll make a few good portrait copies to frame.

I also bought Michelle a special made-to-order vegan cake from a bakery in another Brooklyn neighborhood (30 minutes drive by car). One of her oldest pals came over before the ceremony and both my girls hung out with Jakob.

But then Michelle got annoyed about something and didn't want to sit through the graduation screening. She stomped off to her bedroom, and I had to plead with her to relax, and come back downstairs for the "ceremony." She did, and we enjoyed much of it.

We had trouble locating the video link and I frantically phoned a friend, whose daughter was also graduating, for assistance. We clicked on, entered the password, and voilà, there was commencement.

It began with pre-recorded speeches from a few students, the principal, a few celebrity alums, video segments with students and teachers. Then for an hour, we saw the yearbook photos of nearly every graduate (of 740) for about 10 seconds, in alphabetical order. Instead of watching Michelle stroll across the stage, we watched her picture and cheered. She pointed out her friends, and gave evaluations of other students ("nice," "stupid," "strange," "smart," "racist creep," "funny kid," etc.). Jessica recognized some students from her time at Murrow as well.

Then we purchased dinner from a favorite restaurant and ate it at home.

Graduation 2020 is different. It is a let down. It's unique. We gotta cheer. 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on June 26, 2020 01:40

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A Sacramento high school refused to let social distancing guidelines get in the way of enjoying a (safe) graduation.

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