Graduation: A Class Divided

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School schedule phases. Mask guidelines. Social distancing. And finally, graduation, which will take place on May 25. But while we know the “when” of graduation, the “how” has yet to be decided. The class of 2021 has faced a divided senior year, dealing with a growing number of controversial issues that have split the student body in half. As the year rapidly races towards completion with graduation, Timpview’s administration has faced the difficult decision of whether to conclude with a traditional graduation on the football field or with a parade akin to last year’s festivities.

Why We Should Have a Traditional Graduation

All students have lost a year of high school to COVID-19, with many events being cancelled or greatly altered, but perhaps none have faced effects as impactful as the seniors. Having a traditional graduation, although still slightly changed, would allow for a year lost to COVID-19 to end with a hint of normalcy. “We need one final event that celebrates our class and gives us closure on our crazy high school career” said basketball player Jacob Gates. Many students want closure, and a moment to celebrate their accomplishments with their grade. “I would prefer graduation on the field … I would rather have a final moment and get closure with my fellow members of my senior class … than just walk in front of my family” said Student Body President Jacob Harrsion.

Why We Should Have a Parade

Timpview seniors deserve to have the privacy and fun of a graduation without worrying about COVID-19 or dealing with a long public process for everyone to see. Having a graduation parade allows students to have a more personal and intimate experience with the people they love and care about. Instead of dealing with the pressure of thousands of eyes on them and worrying about not having many people show up, seniors can enjoy the people they care about while graduating in a more controlled and friendly environment. Contrarily, graduation on the football field could mean only giving students two tickets to hand out, leading to issues for children of divorce and requiring students to choose between parents, close friends, siblings, and grandparents.

A parade also allows for a graduation experience with all of the fun and celebration that a student desires without the hours of waiting in line for your name to be called and the boredom of sitting through long speeches. The new system streamlines the best parts of graduation without all of the fluff and circumstance.

The People Who Don’t Know

But despite all of the strong opinions on either side, there is a good proportion of students who don’t prefer one option over the other as long as there is a ceremony of some sort. A few students have expressed concern about graduation being too long, preferring it to be shorter. Many students feel that there are too many pros and cons to each to make a full decision. Others feel too uninformed to decide. It’s clear that many students don’t feel strongly enough to commit to either idea. Vave Adolpho, a football player, is an example of a student who is conflicted, knowing that his family would prefer a traditional graduation ceremony, but that he would personally choose a parade. “We know that if we go with one over the other there are going to be some people who are maybe upset or frustrated or who would’ve wished that the other option was chosen,” Vice Principal Sean Edwards said.

Conclusion

The school’s administration wants to hear the student body’s opinions and make a decision from there. “We want to do something that the students are going to remember, that they’re going to enjoy,” Sean continued. But they’ve struggled to find a clear consensus. The Thunderbolt polled forty-nine Timpview seniors with deeply divisive results: 35% supported the parade, 35% supported a traditional graduation, and 30% were undecided. Sean concluded, “Whatever happens, we want to do our very best to honor the accomplishments of our graduates in a fun, enjoyable, and memorable way.”

Which Form of Graduation Would You Prefer?

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