Graduation Changes from a Class of 2021 Senior Perspective

As everyone knows, Coronavirus has hit everyone pretty hard. However, no one has really taken the time to think about just how hard it hit students, especially the graduating class of 2021. Yes, the graduating class of 2020 had it rough with its prom and graduation getting canceled, alongside the other half of their senior year, but in my opinion, the class of 2021 missed out on a lot more. The class of 2021 has missed out on just about ¾ of its senior year. The majority of it was online, there were no football or other sports games, there was no Homecoming dance, there won’t be a “normal” prom, and there won’t be a normal graduation either. 

Although a lot of things are starting to open back up again with the large number of vaccine doses that are becoming available and distributed, this pandemic still is not over. We still need to take precautions to stop the spread. Due to this, Wake County will not allow schools to host “normal” proms or typical graduation ceremonies that schools would have under normal circumstances. This means that for Apex High School, seniors will not have their graduation ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center. However, the school has decided to still host something special for their senior class of 2021, which we are all very grateful for during these unprecedented, unpredictable times. 

An email was sent out to staff, students, and family that Apex High School will host a graduation ceremony on the football field on June 11th at 8 A.M. and 10 A.M. (in case of bad weather, June 12th at 5 P.M. and 7 pm. The key word there is “and”. This means that there will be two different ceremonies held. Because due to COVID and the number of people attending, there is not enough room to host one big graduation ceremony with the entire senior class and all their guests. Therefore, the class will be split in half by alphabetical order. Alongside that, each student is only being given four tickets for their families. This is difficult for some who have big families or whose grandparents were wanting to attend. Even for me, I have five people in my immediate family who would want tickets, but unfortunately, that won’t be able to happen. This is because we need to have enough room for everyone to spread out as well as the fact that families of students are already asking for extra tickets that unfortunately they likely will not receive. 

Under normal circumstances, students usually are given eight tickets and sometimes more if they really need it since the Convention Center is able to accommodate so many people. However, our stadium is not the same way. Not only is this an issue, but it is sad for those who have friends that may be in a different part of the alphabet as them that they can’t watch their friends walk across the stage and receive the diploma they’ve been working so hard for all these years. For example, my last name starts with a “C,” but my best friend’s starts with a “P”, so sadly, I won’t get to see her walk across the stage and cheer her on. 

Despite how thrilled I am to at least have a graduation ceremony that I’m sure will be fun and exciting, it is just a shame that we continue to miss out on so much of our senior year. However, I would like to say thank you though to all the family members of seniors this year that have done what they can to help out as well as the staff at Apex High School who have tried their best to come up with ways to make the most out of the situation and give seniors what they could in terms of things like graduation, and prom, and now sports games. This has been a rough year on everyone, but at least it is looking like there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.

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