It’s April 2020. Fifty years this June since I graduated Edwin Denby High School in Detroit.

This year, 2020, … the year of coronavirus … has forced schools across the globe to cancel traditional spring graduation festivities. Graduation for this year’s crop of seniors will be vastly different from the past.

All across Facebook users are sharing their high school graduation photos from years gone by. You can see mine here.

Many are taking part to join in a virtual tribute … a celebration of sorts … in a show of support for this year’s round of graduates who will miss out on the long-established tradition of donning cap and gown, waiting for their name to be announced, then promenading up the dais to be handed their diploma. At least today’s seniors will have their photos to share.

It’s sad. It’s different. But it’s also special.

Graduating high school comes by but once. It’s sad to miss out on the plans, the expectations, the parties. The pomp and circumstance.

Some schools may hold delayed graduation ceremonies. Some may hold virtual group ceremonies. Nice gestures. But let’s face it. It won’t be the same. Not for students. Not for proud parents. Not for faculty or staff.

It will be different, with no way to bump out the dents of tradition missed. That won’t be forgotten, along with some lingering sadness for what might have been.

By next year … by this fall or summer even … seniors will have shed their upper class mate status and entered into the next phase of their lives. Starting again as freshman in the daunting world of adulthood. For some that will be college. Others gap year. Still others job, or any number of different combinations.

That’s special. The future is full of special.

It always has been and it always will be. My wish is for this year’s graduates, indeed all of us, to look forward. Look for opportunities to make the world better, special. Find your unique path and rock the heck out of it as best you can, even when some bumps and ruts temporarily block your path and alter your course.

In the meantime, here’s some well-deserved Pomp and Circumstance for this year’s graduates:

How has this year’s altered any of your graduation celebrations this year? Please, share in the comments.

  • Graduations have not been a big celebration in our family. There have been many missed celebration opportunities. The boys and I were not into the social scene at the time of our graduations, even from universities. My daughter enjoyed her graduation celebrations with friends and my wife and I were there as proud parents. She even went on to celebrate two university degree graduations.

    • Hi Doug. Nice of you to visit and sharing your thoughts. I’m sure you’re not alone regarding missed celebrations. It’s sad for those without the power or wherewithal to attend or not, and not just graduations. Sounds like you have some terrific go-getter kids. Kudos to all their accomplishments … and to the parents who raised them.

  • I think not having a high school graduation is the worst – I think schools should at least try to have them late June. My son will miss his college graduation this year – although they did postpone until August. But it’s not the same. He said by then he wants to be working and moving on with life without having to go back for just that. :(.

  • My daughters graduated from both high school and college and those celebrations are rewarding.

    I do feel bad for this year’s graduates. They’ve devoted the past 12, 13 maybe 14 years (if you include pre-school) with the goal to graduate high school.

    This year’s graduates are also special. In a league of their own by earning the bragging rights of graduating during a pandemic. Something future graduates won’t be able to say at least another 100 yrs. (I hope)

    • I understand that time “devoted” part especially well when it comes to college graduation. I didn’t enroll until my 40’s and finally graduated with BBA December 10, 2010 at age 58. I was DETERMINED to take part in the ceremony. I would have been terrible sad if I’d had to miss it, but resigned to the disappointment until the reasons happening this year.

  • I can’t even find my high school yearbook picture from when I graduated in 1967, the closest I have is in my graduation gown at the ceremony. I wonder what the ones graduating this year will think when they have reunions.

    • It will be interesting hearing how today’s graduates recap their experience in years to come. For high school, graduation gowns were rented so I don’t have mine. But I do have the one I had to buy (cheap) for university graduation in 2010 (age 58!). It’s now in our private costume wardrobe unit in the basement.

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