Opinion: “Click to Cross the Stage” just isn’t the same thing


Charlotte D'Orsi

The coronavirus pandemic has robbed seniors across the nation of a true sense of accomplishment.


When VUSD schools were initially closed until April 10, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty excited. After committing to a university, I felt unmotivated and lazy, way too exhausted to finish the rest of my senior year. In my mind, a short break seemed like not only a good solution for the sake of my health but also the sake of my sanity. 

However, as the COVID-19 outbreak became increasingly more drastic to the point where schools got shut down for the rest of the year, I thought, “Oh shoot.” And finally, the rumors became reality, VHS will be holding a “virtual graduation.”

Great, just what I need after a whole semester of Zoom calls, another Zoom call but this time, to finalize my four years of working my butt off so I can get into a good college. Because, you know, it’s like basically the same thing as a real ceremony.

To me, the appeal of a graduation ceremony isn’t hearing the speeches or even putting on that ugly yellow robe. I just want to be able to experience the thrill that I can only imagine one feels when they walk in front of a crowd of people to accept their diploma.

Senior, Madeleine Locher answered that she was okay with having a virtual graduation on a poll run on The Cougar Press Instagram. Locher stated, “Obviously I’m upset about the change that has been caused by the coronavirus, but I’m not expecting an actual graduation at this point.” Infographic by: Charlotte D’Orsi

I want to stand in the stadium and feel that sense of completion, that sense of satisfaction that my living room just cannot provide. I want to hear my name be announced and echo over the loudspeaker. I want to be handed my diploma by my principal, not by my mailman.

As senior Alexis Moncada put it, “Walking down the rows of your friends right after your name was called and looking around and seeing your family, friends, and teachers … taking the last pictures with some friends you may never see again, these moments can’t really be replaced by a virtual experience.”

I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Well at least it isn’t your college graduation,” which, in my case, is very true. But what about all of the students who aren’t planning on going to college? This is where their educational journey ends and they don’t even get a real final celebration with all of their classmates and teachers.

I fully understand the gravity of the virus that is preventing such a ceremony from happening. Whether we like it or not, “a virtual graduation is the only realistic option to keep everyone safe at this time,” said senior Madeleine Locher. And in the grand scheme of things, COVID-19 is affecting a lot more than just this academic year. Locher explained, “If everyone sticks to the social distancing rules, hopefully everything can go back to normal so we can start college in the fall.” 

I also understand that VHS–just like every other school in America– is doing their best to give seniors that sense of accomplishment. But, as much as I appreciate the efforts, the yard sign and bumper sticker don’t really cut it for me.

VHS is also planning an in-person reunion one year from now, however, with all due respect, once I’m in college, high school is going to be the last thing on my mind. Personally, my circle remained pretty small throughout my last four years and while I wish all of my classmates the best in their life endeavors, I don’t feel like awkwardly reuniting with them a year from now when I’ve moved on with my life. But that’s just me.

On the bright side, my grandma will be able to “attend” my graduation all the way from New York and won’t even have to pay for a ticket. Actually, VHS hasn’t disclosed if they will be charging money for tickets but if they are, I’ll have my own virtual graduation, hit me up for the Zoom code.