Graduation remains uncanceled; backup dates set through July


Roar files

Principal Rick Fleming presides over the 2019 graduation ceremony at the King Center.

Alana Mayott, Managing Editor

The senior class  received word Friday about their graduation that many weren’t expecting. The Brevard County School Board officially announced that all graduation ceremonies are to remain uncanceled, despite current social distancing protocols. 

The board announced in a press release that back-up dates for high school graduation ceremonies for June and July will be implemented if the rules on social distancing and large gatherings were to extend past April 30. It is also stated that if in-person graduation ceremonies were to commence, social distancing guidelines would be followed with limitations on the number of tickets available. 

Erica Camacho (12) appeared elated that graduation wouldn’t be canceled. 

“I was super happy because we’ve all worked so hard at West Shore,” she said. “Honestly, as long as we have a ceremony I’m fine with whenever it is, especially since we want to make sure everyone is safe and healthy.”

Kathryn Carrick (12) shared a similar sentiment.

“I was excited to hear that graduation would not be canceled,” Carrick said. “However, I also feel like I’ve made my peace with missing out on a lot of senior events at this point, so i’d be OK if it was. I am very appreciative that our leaders are putting in this effort to ensure we have graduation.”

The official announcement mentioned that leaders in student government in high schools throughout the county were able to virtually meet with Superintendent Mark Mullins to discuss possible ideas, including the effects of pushing graduation into the summer. They also discussed the possibility of virtual graduation, especially for those that had previous commitments and would not be able to attend.

“I would not like an online graduation because it would lack the sentiment and experience of a normal graduation,” Diego Vento (12) said. “I’d rather wait, even if it takes a long time.”

Julia Amorde (12) agreed that a virtual graduation wouldn’t be sufficient.

“I want everyone to stay safe and healthy, but I’d rather wait until this is all over to receive my diploma in person than to receive it online. At that point it’s not even a graduation; it’s a sad goodbye,” she said. “Some of my friends are going off to different colleges and I won’t be able to see them for I don’t know how long, so this graduation isn’t about just getting a diploma, but it’s also about telling your favorite teachers goodbye and thank you as well as hugging your peers and wishing them good luck on the rest of their journey. After growing alongside these amazing people for years, this should not be how we say goodbye.” 

Even though an online graduation isn’t preferred, some accepted it as their potential fate. 

“I would attend an online graduation, but I don’t support it,” Duncan Schwarze (12) said. “I think it’s cheesy and I would rather wait for an in-person ceremony.”

Amorde said that although it would be virtual, she would still be able to graduate with those close to her.

“As much as I dislike the idea, if my friends are doing it. then I would too,” she said. “If this is all we get, at least my friends will be there with me.” 

Likewise, even with the potential of a ceremony, concerns about safety surrounding the virus are still prominent. 

“I would be worried about things like the seating arrangement, sanitation of the facility in which it would occur, and the shaking of hands on stage,” Vento said. 

Amorde also expressed concerns about potential exposure to COVID-19.

“I do worry about exposing our family and friends to the virus by not keeping our distance,” Amorde said.  “I am worried for the health of my parents and grandparents and would not want to risk their safety in any way. I also fear the families that are traveling from other states to see us graduate. I am not sure what we can do except keep the safety of others in mind and take necessary precautions.”

Even with the potential of a traditional graduate ceremony, virtual ceremonies are not completely off the table. The final decision of celebrating the class of 2020’s achievements will be up to the state government to decide. 

“Imagine a Zoom call with over 200 people in it,” Amorde said. “[We] might as well just photoshop ourselves at the King Center shaking [Principal Rick] Fleming’s hand.”