Should parents be allowed at graduation?

Story by Anna Johns, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy pexels.com

Family members have always been there along the way to lead us in the right direction. Whether it was helping study for spelling tests or staying up late to finish that science fair project, our parents were always there to lend a hand. For many, the best gift their parents have ever given them is a wonderful education. As we approach graduation, this achievement would not have been possible without the support of our parents both financially and emotionally.  

Graduation isn’t just a time for students, but also family members who helped along the way. Sadly, it was announced that for the classes of 2021 and 2020 that the commencement ceremony will be limited to graduates and the platform party only. A virtual livestream of the event will be available for friends and family.

“At this time, we will not be able to accommodate family members and guests at the ceremony. We know they want to cheer you on as you walk across the stage, so we will be offering a professional livestream of the event. It will also be available after the ceremony for viewing any time,” President Quinn wrote in a letter to graduating students. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges for the Aquinas administration. The school is doing their best to adjust and adapt their plans for this year’s commencement ceremony. At the ceremony social distancing protocols will be observed and graduates will be required to participate in on-site temperature checks and health screenings in order to walk. 

Though students will be surrounded by their peers, many feel saddened that their family members can not attend the ceremony in person. Some students have suggested splitting the ceremony into different departments and reduce the number of guests allowed to allow for more room to accommodate family members.

It is disappointing for graduates that their family members will not be able to attend graduation this year but it is understandable. The CDC strongly advises against large gatherings especially indoors. 

Personally, I know my mother is disappointed that she will not be able to attend the ceremony in person: “I’m sad that I won’t be able to attend the graduation ceremony, I wish they could find a way to let family members attend but I understand why we aren’t allowed to. It still makes me sad that we won’t be able to, but we will find other ways to celebrate.”

Graduation is an important milestone and a time to celebrate with friends and family. Though it’s not possible for all to be together there are many other ways to celebrate graduation without gathering in large groups. 

Organizing a video party is a great way to celebrate virtually. Arrange a Zoom call and share a toast with your friends and family. Another idea is to celebrate with a small group outdoors; this is the perfect excuse to host a barbeque and get some much-needed socialization.

This is a bittersweet time for the graduating class and with the pandemic we are blessed to be able to have a commencement ceremony this year. Though it may not be what students expected it is better than having nothing at all and in these uncertain times, it is best to remain positive. 

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