Tag Archives: pandemic graduation

21st Century’s Covid-19 Graduation Celebration

Standard

Well, it was…hands down…the weirdest graduation ceremony I have ever attended.

So unlike the graduation celebrations of years past. This one was one for the history books. It was unorthodox to be sure, but it accomplished its purpose in launching our two graduates out of high school into their futures.

Needless to say, this year’s celebration did NOT take place in an auditorium with hundreds of other graduating seniors and family members.

No, this year’s ceremony took place in the comfort of our own living room.

Molly wasn’t in attendance.

Ozzie wasn’t in attendance.

Even Braden, one of our graduates, was not in attendance.

Life has been a hard for Braden these last few months. He has struggled with the same feelings of loss and despair that so many around the world have been burdened by during this time of lock down. Hopes and plans have been dashed by powers outside his control and that, coupled with all the expected angst and uncertainty that comes with launching into adulthood, has made things challenging for him. Molly leaving on her mission was that proverbial final straw that made life at home unbearable for him. Unable to manage those overwhelming feelings of loss, he chose to take his leave at the start of the week and go stay with his pap for a while. It breaks my heart to see him flee, but I get it. Being at home is a painful reminder of the changes that have occurred in our family these last nine months. For Braden, I think it feels like the rug is being pulled out from under him once again. In his heart this feels like the loss of one more family after a lifetime of losses, and no matter how much proof we offer to the contrary, or how connected we work to remain, he feels the winds of change coming and he is determined to leave us before we can leave him like so many before us have.

Right now the loss of Molly is too new, and the feelings too raw, to process through, so we are giving him what he says he needs: space. How long that period of recovery will be has yet to be determined. He may be staying at his pap’s house for a week or for the entire summer. He is in a safe space, with an adult looking out for him, while he allows his hurting heart to heal a bit from this latest loss in his life. It will all work out. I know that. But it still is heartbreaking and so very hard to navigate the emotional pot holes of trauma and loss.

So, at our graduation celebration we had only one senior: Rusty.

We received news earlier in the month that 21st Century Cyber Charter School had decided on a virtual graduation ceremony. We were told it would be played on YouTube Live. At the end of May seniors were mailed their caps and gowns and were asked to submit a picture of themselves wearing them. Then days before graduation we were emailed the link for the ceremony.

Rusty invited Grace and Zach to come over and watch with us. We set it up so we could watch the ceremony on the living room TV.

2020-06-11 07.00.13

When our IT guy had things all set up, he headed upstairs to put on his cap and gown.

2020-06-11 06.58.00

To make the experience feel more celebratory, Toby picked up pizza on his way home from work and we had a pizza party while we watched Rusty graduate.

2020-06-11 06.58.27

Rusty declared it a perfect set-up for his high school graduation. Covid-19 really gave Rusty the graduation ceremony of his dreams. For our quiet introvert it was a win-win. He got to watch it unfold from “the audience.” He didn’t have to wear shoes or walk across a stage in front of hundreds of people. AND he got to eat pizza through the entire thing. I know many graduates are really mourning the loss of that pivotal life experience, but Rusty wasn’t one of them!

2020-06-11 07.01.15

Although Molly was thousands of miles away in Utah, she was able to call in right before graduation to wish her brothers love. She enjoyed being able to see Rusty in his cap and gown.

2020-06-11 07.12.44

21st Century Cyber Charter School began their graduation ceremony with speeches from alumni and three of the seniors. Then scholarships were handed out. Finally it was time for the presentation of the graduates.

As the names and photos of the graduating class flashed across the screen, I was able to catch a picture of my two favorites:

2020-06-11 08.06.182020-06-11 08.06.22

The ceremony ended with words of care and advice from the principal before the seniors were invited to move their tassels from right to left.

2020-06-11 08.10.30

It is official…

Braden and Rusty are high school graduates!

Rusty and Braden’s Senior Photo Shoot

Standard

IMG_3309 (2)

Being the bizarre spring it has been, it isn’t surprising that tasks that I would normally be on top off have fallen to the wayside. One of those tasks being senior photos.

In past years, with my past seniors, we have coordinated our senior photos long before the final days of the senior school year, but in the midst of navigating a worldwide pandemic certain things have fallen to the wayside.

It wasn’t until I realized we needed to send out graduation announcements that I realized that we still needed to take some senior photos so that we could create the announcements.

This year we have two graduating seniors. Both Braden and Rusty will be graduating from 21st Century Cyber Charter School on June 11th. The school has opted for a virtual graduation. Rather than traveling to Downingtown, Pennsylvania, like we did for Grace and Molly’s graduation ceremonies, we will be watching Rusty and Braden graduate from high school in the comfort of our own living room. This brings mixed feelings as our excursion east to celebrate our kids’ academic achievements is always a highlight of the senior year, but the decision is a wise and prudent one.

The school, in an effort to celebrate their seniors from afar, sent yard signs to all the graduating seniors.

IMG_3518 (2)

For seniors across the world, the ending of their academic journey isn’t at all what they expected. We acknowledged this disappointment with some special gifts for our graduating seniors…

IMG_3118 (3)

Gifts they donned for their senior photo shoot.

IMG_3512 (2)IMG_3322 (2)

On two separate sunny spring days we took the boys out in the yard to capture some photos for their graduation announcements. Grace and Molly helped me out.

IMG_3217 (1)

I always find boy’s photo shoots to be more challenging than girls. They are less willing to get silly and it is more of a challenge catching their personalities on camera during a staged shoot. We found adding dogs to the mix helped capture their inner joy.

IMG_3374 (2)IMG_3647 (2)IMG_3259 (2)

It was a joy celebrating our two senior sons and we were able to get some great shots of our handsome sons, just in time to create their graduation announcements which will be sent out to all those family and friends that we won’t be able to celebrate with in person.

Rusty’s post-graduation plans include continuing at CCBC (where he was duel enrolled for his senior year) to pursue a degree in unmanned aerial vehicle piloting. He plans of becoming a drone pilot.

IMG_3242 (2)IMG_3303 (2)IMG_3298 (2)IMG_3227 (2)IMG_3210 (2)

IMG_3284

Braden will be attending New Castle School of Trades in the fall as he pursues a degree in Automotive Technology.

IMG_3503 (2)IMG_3520 (2)IMG_3613 (2)IMG_3488 (2)

IMG_3633 (1)IMG_3582 (2)

The future is bright for both our boys and we can’t wait to see what God has planned for them!