Graduation rites during the pandemic

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya - The Freeman

We constantly think of odd ways to do things when we are in a difficult situation. This is because, in light of the current situation, we are unable to engage in things that we previously enjoyed. This is especially true at school graduation ceremonies. This is the second year that public and private schools have held closing ceremonies on an online or virtual platform.

The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed and redefined graduates' final year of college for over a year. Campus closures in March 2020 threw students' lives into disarray, requiring them to complete their last year remotely. Seniors this year will face a similar fate, as the epidemic prevents many students from participating in regular campus and graduation rites.

Despite the fact that several institutions have shown an interest in hosting "live" graduations, circumstances are taking precedence over pomp, and safety is trumping tradition. It's turned into the year of hybridized graduations.

Virtual graduations are held in a hybrid format. There are schools that have pre-taped or recorded the whole graduation ceremony, from the emcee's address to the honor students' and speaker's speeches to the awarding of diplomas and awards. Other schools, on the other hand, hold their closing ceremonies in real time. This entails requiring the graduates and their parents to attend the ceremony live, albeit from the comfort of their own homes. The thrill comes when the graduate's name is called out to accept the diploma, but only virtually.

Other unusual variations, on the other hand, have created ripples on social media. One such event took place in a rural location, where a decorated mobile stage towed by a carabao visited the graduates' houses to present their diplomas. Because students are not yet permitted to attend school, teachers devised a method of bringing the graduation to the graduates' homes. This is an instance of a mobile graduation.

And it was done in an unusual way for my niece, Chezkah Rabago Dela Torre in Ontario, Canada, who also graduated with honors from senior high school and awarded an Ontario Scholarship for a university course. Private cars form a line and eventually arrived at a makeshift tent where diplomas were handed out through the car window. It was akin to a drive-through graduation.

While the necessity for prudence is obvious, some students believe they have been robbed of the traditions that make these ceremonies so unique — especially those who never envisaged the virus extending as far as it has. Several colleges and universities are planning in-person commencements, but many are limiting access to students and requesting that family and friends attend through the internet.

Traditional graduating ceremonies were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, but that didn't stop people from celebrating students' accomplishments.

As the world navigates the pandemic, it's unknown what lies next. But, in the meanwhile, it's critical to recognize achievements in any way that's possible. Anything we can do to honor the students is wonderful.

Our graduates, parents, and relatives have had a challenging year, and crossing the finish line is a remarkable accomplishment! They have surmounted a significant obstacle. This event does not represent their entire preschool, elementary, high school or college experience, and these circumstances do not invalidate anything they have accomplished thus far. They've shown grit in the face of hardship, and there's no doubt that the 2020-2021 class has defied the odds and will continue to do so.

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