In-person graduation scheduled for June 7 Leaving a bittersweet aftertaste, the upcoming 2021 senior graduation says their final goodbyes in limited circumstances

Administration is currently organizing to ensure a safe and successful ceremony for seniors. In contrast to last year's drive-thru graduation, this year's graduation will include pre-recorded speeches and a smaller audience at Orleans Arena. "Senior year went well for me as I still was able to spend time with the people I care about even though it was in a reduced capacity," senior Micheal Brock said. "It’s obviously bittersweet as it’s [graduation is] saying goodbye to a part of my life, but I’m excited for the future.” Photo Credit: MD Duran
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With less than a month remaining, seniors are heading towards the finish line of their high school careers. Using CDC’s guidance, senior graduation is taking place at the Orleans Arena June 7 at 8 a.m. with additional rules set in-place, such as assigned seats and limited ticket availability, to ensure safety for all attendees. 

“You have to pick and choose,” SWCTA Principal Donna Levy said. “I have a nephew who’s graduating, but they only get four tickets. Ms. Kelly has her daughter who is graduating, and she only gets four tickets. It’s heartbreaking for us that we can’t offer you more tickets and more seats, so I keep celebrating that we’re doing a face-to-face graduation in a whole group. I’m sad you don’t get to have more people, but it’s a step forward. I’m excited that we’re able to offer you a few things like prom and Senior Sunset and our week of events: ‘School Year in a Week.’ I hope things get back to normal and that you all can attend school in the fall in a normal fashion, and we get back to what life is supposed to look like, but I love graduation, so I’m always sad when something happens to it.”

Compared to the previous year’s graduation, in which five faculty members repeated the same ceremony a total of twenty three times, graduation on June 7 will feature pre-recorded speeches played on the screen of the arena to save time by reducing the amount of cleaning required in between every session on the podium. 

“If you ask Ms. Penrod and Mr. Zuniga, they can recite my speech pretty much,” Levy said. “I would do it all over again; graduation is my favorite event of the whole yearI love it. It’s so great to see you all dressed up and how excited your family’s all are and how excited you are and honestly, if you think about it, there are some kidsthis is the biggest thing that’s going to happen to them in their life, so we don’t know who they are because I don’t know what happens next for any of you.”

While many seniors are looking forward to a proper graduation ceremony, some have expressed their concerns about the plan.

“My thoughts and feelings on graduation are pretty much being ready for it but nervous at the same time,” senior Shaymaah Darouch said. “It has me feeling very anxious with how it might go, and usually, CCSD changes their minds at the last minute, so it’s something that I worry about as well of them suddenly changing graduation.”

While slight unrest persists regarding the graduation, both students and teachers have made sacrifices on their ends to make the event possible.

“I feel very excited and very happy that at least we get a graduation since I always think about the seniors from last year who didn’t have a proper farewell,” Darouch said. “Now that we get to go to the Orleans and graduate, it makes me happy to know that seniors aren’t forgotten about.”