HEBER CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Graduation day, it’s a special occasion for students and families alike, but what happens when a global pandemic disrupts our normal every day lives due to physical distancing?
In the midst of COVID-19 in Utah, many schools have been tasked with exploring different ways to celebrate the class of 2020 for their accomplishments. Wasatch County School District has created a memorable experience for its over 520 graduating seniors with a virtual graduation.
Over a three-day period, the school filmed the virtual graduation ceremony. The entire project will be produced and broadcast on the school’s original graduation date and time, May 20 at 5 p.m. Each of the graduating students were able to walk across the stage as they would in a typical graduation commencement. The students were greeted by W.H.S staff, received a diploma, and got a special message from their parents recorded on camera. All of this performed in a social-distanced manner.
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Assistant Principal of Wasatch High School, Ryan Bishop told ABC4.com, “We wanted to make it like a Disneyland experience for the students.”
The school district presented stakeholders and the community with a survey on how the district should best recognize the class of 2020. After combing through many of the ideas and collaborating with Wasatch High staff, the virtual ceremony decision was received with great feedback from parents and students.
“Under the current circumstances, we hope this has been a real personalized experience for each graduate,” commented Bishop.
Wasatch High senior Mayson Kelly admits that although it was tough hearing she wouldn’t have the real graduation that she’s dreamed of since she was a kid, this year’s virtual graduation had some nice benefits to it.
“Now that I’ve gone through it, the experience was super cool and awesome. And honestly, I’d rather do that again,” Kelly told ABC4.com.
Mayson has plans to move to Wyoming for school in the fall to play soccer, but looking back on this school year, she says is something she’ll always remember.
Across the state, some students and parents may feel that the class of 2020 were cheated out of a traditional graduation ceremony. However, for graduates like Mayson Kelly it was a cool and unique experience… despite the obstacles COVID-19 presented in the latter half of the 2019-2020 school year.
“This is something we’ll be able to tell our kids and everyone when we’re old” added Kelly.
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