Graduation: Stay-at-Home Style

Here in Los Angeles, we are still being asked to stay at home this week because of the coronavirus. To get some exercise, I take walks around my neighborhood.

Recently, I’ve been seeing lawn signs like the one in the photo* (lawn is grass either in front of or behind a building).

Traditionally, May and June are the months when students graduate from high school and college.

Graduation (from the verb to graduate) is the official end of a student’s studies and is usually celebrated with a graduation ceremony (a formal event related to some celebration).

A graduation ceremony begins with some speeches (prepared talks to an audience).

Then the seniors (students in their last year of high school/college, who are now graduating) walk on stage one at a time to receive their diplomas (official certificates showing the completion of their studies).

Friends and family are there of course to cheer (to shout loudly to show their happiness).

Well, that’s the way it usually works. No so (not the situation) this year.

With schools closed for the past two months or more, and with large gatherings banned (not allowed), the traditional graduation ceremony won’t be held in most schools.

Instead, some schools will have no graduation ceremonies at all. Students’ diplomas will be mailed to them.

Some schools are postponing (scheduling for a later date) the graduation ceremony until later in the summer, when (we hope!) things will return to normal (go back to the way they used to be).

Other schools are having virtual (via the Internet) graduations.

In these cases, the graduating students and their friends and family are invited to join an online event.

There are live or recorded speeches from the principal (person in charge of the school) and the valedictorian, the student with the best academic record (the best grades).

A few schools with a smaller number of graduating seniors are able to have “live”, in-person graduations.

Each student arrives with their family and friends, and their temperature is taken before they can participate.

Then the students are allowed to walk on stage to receive their diploma. Friends and family can take photos and cheer the graduate.

I feel sorry for high school graduates this year. Not only are they missing out on (will not have) a traditional graduation, they’re also miss out on graduation parties.

When I graduated high school, there was a party at my house for my family and friends. The tradition back then, in the late 19th century, was that each graduate’s family had a party, but your friends from school could also attend (go to the party).

This meant that nearly every weekend for about six weeks, there was a graduation party to go to. For my school, someone even organized a schedule so everyone could see when the parties were.

Good times (it was enjoyable)!

But as the old saying goes (says): “This too shall pass.”

This bad situation won’t last forever. With luck, seniors will soon be able to party to their hearts’ content (as much as they want to).

~ Jeff

* “Samohi” is the nickname or informal name for “Santa Monica High School.” A class, in this case, refers to all of the students in the same grade at the same time. We would refer to the graduates this year as “the graduating class of 2020.”

P.S. To learn more about traditional graduation ceremonies, check out Daily English 374: A Graduation Ceremony.

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