VHS seniors make plans for graduation, parties


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With Gov. Ron DeSantis announcing that Florida schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, Brevard Public Schools released backup dates for its high school graduation ceremonies.

The plan was developed in consultation with the district’s high school principals and student government leaders and reflects the collective wishes of the Class of 2020.

In the event COVID-19 restrictions are lifted by June 1, BPS will hold graduation ceremonies during the week of June 22. High schools will work with their school communities to identify a date and time of day during that week. Graduations likely will still adhere to social distancing and a limited number of guests.

If restrictions continue through June, BPS will hold graduation ceremonies during the week of July 20. High schools would identify a date and time of day. 

Viera Voice asked several principal scholarship winners and graduating seniors at Viera High School what their plans are if there is no graduation ceremony or graduation parties?

 

Jovany Caraballo:
“I would say that based on the current crisis, it does not bother me if graduation was canceled. I would prefer it be moved to a later date in the summer if possible, when this is all over. But if not, knowing my parents, we would probably have our own party at home like eating dinner and playing games.”

 

Taylor Callaway: 

“If there is no graduation ceremony, my mom told me she would try and do something special to commemorate this special moment in my high school career. Possibly have some close family over, safely six feet apart, outside on the driveway. Or have my family drive by in their cars as I have my cap and gown on. If there are no graduation parties, I will most likely FaceTime or Zoom my friends to still have a party. Or we will all drive to an open area six feet apart and sit in our cars and just hang out. I just want to find some way to make graduating special that is safe, but still memorable before I go off to college.”

 

Keven Luciano: 

“I would celebrate with my family. Once this pandemic subsides, I’ll plan a party with my close friends and possibly hold a mock graduation ceremony.”

 

Landon Sears: 

“If there is no graduation ceremony or graduation parties, I will begin to look to the future. I have done my best not to dwell on the fact that much of my senior year has been taken away, for my mind has been more focused on moving forward to college in the fall. All I can do now is hope that much of this coronavirus outbreak is resolved by the time I am supposed to leave for college. For that is what I am most looking forward to at this point.”

 

David Jones: 

“If the graduation ceremony gets canceled this year, I'd have my own personal graduation with people close to me to celebrate the last four years of high school and the start of my college career.”

 

Dylan Melby: 

“If graduation is online this year, I plan to celebrate at home with my family and to go through the same motions that I would have done originally in person. This would include lots of pictures, dressing up and possibly giving a speech. As far as a graduation party, my family and I would do the best we can to still have our graduation party. However, we would most likely push it into the summer in hopes that we can congregate together again. We had planned to celebrate with my best friends in one big party, for all four of us, so hopefully that would remain the same. Family members would come down, friends from all years of being a student would be welcome, and we would kick off our new journey the best way possible.”

 

Marleigh Peters: 

“If there is no graduation ceremony held due to COVID-19 restrictions, I plan to hold a Zoom meeting with my friends where we can recount high school memories and recognize each other for our accomplishments. If we cannot have any graduation parties, I think it would be fun to build a party using Minecraft and invite my friends to play.”

 

Shannon Lee: 

“If there is no graduation ceremony, my family plans on hosting a small get-together for my friends and family to celebrate my graduation. But, if graduation ends up being cancelled, we have decided that we will move that celebration to August and make it an off-to-college event, so that I can still get a small event that I can remember back to for my graduation instead.”

 

Maxwell Reed: 

“If there is no graduation ceremony, then of course I will be upset, but the lack of a ceremony does not make the class of 2020's accomplishments any less significant. This epidemic will eventually end, but our memories and successes will not. There will be a time when quarantine is over, and then there will be plenty to celebrate about. A belated party is better than no party at all.”

 

BPS Superintendent Mark Mullins said it is the district’s hope that we get to see our seniors cross the stage and receive their diplomas with their families looking on with pride.

“Nothing should steal that well-earned moment from them, and it would be heartbreaking to deny them this rite of passage, but our students’ health and safety, and that of their families and our staff, must remain our top priority,” he said.

Mullins added the district will await word from state leaders and remains committed to a proper celebration of the Class of 2020.

During a video conference with the superintendent last month, student government leaders discussed the pros and cons of delaying graduations until later in the summer, recognizing that some students would not be able to attend due to military deployments, freshman events and other commitments. All agreed that it was important that seniors have a live graduation over a virtual ceremony as some school districts have been considering.