Seniors celebrate graduation after year of uncertainty

Katelyn Chu, Staff Writer

Four years spent solving math problems, reading books and writing essays all culminate into one occasion: graduation. This year, despite the circumstances, many seniors will celebrate the momentous event. 

Graduation Parties

Parties are a popular way to celebrate the completion of high school and include gatherings with family and friends. Graduation parties can be enjoyed by many and can be held outside to accommodate social distancing guidelines. During these events, some choose to offer food and drinks in addition to entertaining guests with games or photo stations to memorialize the event. 

“Three of my childhood friends and I are getting a group graduation party hosted by our parents in mid-June,” senior Shruthi Solaiappan said. “The party will be outdoors, all the guests will be fully vaccinated and we will have our masks on and sanitize throughout.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it is safe for fully vaccinated people to gather indoors without needing a mask or social distancing. However, for those who are not yet vaccinated, it is recommended to avoid parties as much as possible. 

“The plan is to bring everyone to a booked area at Burke Lake, have cake-cutting, games and a photoshoot, while catching up with everyone we haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic,” Solaiappan said. 

Students throw their caps into the air to celebrate graduation at Jiffy Lube Live on June 2. (Pat Herrity)

Graduation Trips

While the coronavirus has placed restrictions on travel, some seniors plan to celebrate by exploring new destinations with family or friends. These trips typically consist of smaller groups, allowing seniors to have new experiences with the people closest to them.

“Over the summer, I plan to go to North Carolina to celebrate graduation,” senior Elizabeth Clark said. “It’s probably the last time I will get to go since I will be an adult and in college after this summer, so I am excited.”

According to the CDC, those who are fully vaccinated may safely travel within the United States, given that they wear masks, social distance and sanitize or wash their hands frequently during their excursion. Many have not traveled this past year due to restrictions. However, new regulations provide additional incentives to those who enjoy vacationing to new destinations.

Family Celebrations

After over a year of being separated from loved ones, others are choosing to emphasize family during graduation. Through events such as reunions, dinners and parties, families and friends will come together. These events vary from other celebrations, as they are often smaller, but seniors may enjoy being with family better.

According to the Highland Spring Clinic, spending time with loved ones can reduce stress, improve mental health and boost self-confidence.

“After the ceremony, my family and I will go out to dinner,” senior Anina Jojo said. “We want to stay as safe as possible while still enjoying ourselves and acknowledging this achievement.”

The weeks leading up to graduation can be a stressful time for many seniors, as they deal with graduation requirements and wrap up their last months of high school. Some seniors may want to celebrate by decompressing and relaxing at home. Regardless of the celebration that seniors choose, graduation is a significant event in any senior’s academic journey. Congratulations to the Class of 2021.