On April 9, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior class advisor sent out an announcement that Gradbash was canceled. Another announcement was made on April 16, that Prom would not occur. Nothing has been said about graduation, but with the recent announcement that schools will be closed for the rest of the year because of COVID-19, the probability of a typical graduation ceremony occurring this year does not seem very likely.
With the end of the school year approaching quickly, seniors are left wondering if they will be ending their high school career without getting the opportunity to attend these special events. However, there is talk of alternative solutions to these events that might fill in the gap that these cancellations are creating.
One option was a virtual Prom that was put on by celebrity John Krasinski on Friday, April 17. The link was sent out to seniors via remind and advertised by Krasinski himself over social media. While this was not able to provide the same effect of actually going to physical Prom, some seniors greatly appreciated the effort put into the online event.
“I think his prom was really cool,” senior Jared Block said. “Of course, it doesn’t fill the void of an actual prom but it was great to see some familiar faces on my screen.”
Despite the digital prom, students still desire something real and personal in order to close off this chapter of their lives with nights that were supposed to be unforgettable.
“I think they should be postponed to be held in the future,” senior Naomi Rozenberg said. “I don’t think alternatives are what’s really going to make it better for us because it’s not going to be the same.”
Many universities have also canceled their summer classes as a consequence of the virus, keeping a majority of students at home for the summer. One suggested alternative was to host graduation in the summer or fall, essentially creating a reunion in order to make up for lack of an opportunity for students to say their final goodbyes at school.
“If the virus doesn’t get worse we should have graduation in the summer, maybe even the fall if possible,” senior Sam Diaz said. “I know I would be willing to come back from college if it means getting a proper high school graduation.”
Other seniors feel that if a postponed prom and graduation could not be executed, the digital events would be more complete with special guests taking part in the occasions that the students have earned.
“I feel that these events are true milestones that are very difficult to replace with an online ceremony,” senior Danielle Rittman said. “If postponing the events is not an option, and it has to be online, I think that it would make it more special if we could have celebrity performers for prom and famous speakers for graduation.”
The course that the virus will take in the upcoming months is unpredictable but crucial in deciding when or if prom and graduation will occur, as well as the form these events will take.