Graduating This Year?

Saturday was the official graduation day for my youngest granddaughter in Austin Texas. She’s the last of the grandkids to graduate from high school, and her graduation is so different on so many levels from her cousins.

First of all, there was no traditional ceremony in an auditorium where all the kids gathered to sweat out the hours together. Which was kind of odd because the kids all got their caps and gowns a couple of months ago. I guess in case they wanted to save them for posterity.

I wonder how many people keep their caps and gowns and for how long?

When I graduated high school, we didn’t purchase caps and gowns. We rented them. Which made sense considering that so few people actually kept theirs. I did hang on to my gold honors tassel for quite a long time, but I don’t remember what happened to that after all these intervening years. I would never have purposely thrown it away. I worked too damn hard to get it.

But, back to my granddaughter, Kat, who also graduated with honors in the top 5% of her class.

She said she was just fine with not having a ceremony. Sitting for hours in a cap and gown was not an activity high on her list of fun things to do, but that did mean that she, and her classmates, missed that important element of “finishing.”

Important milestones in life need to be marked somehow, not just melt into the ordinariness, or not ordinariness of life as we know it this June of 2020.

There was no party, no gathering of friends and family, although her mom and dad decorated the house and made it all festive. They also set up a zoom party where grandma’s and aunts and uncles and cousins could all come in and wish her well. It was fun to see everybody, and to at least be able to share that kind of celebration with her, but it definitely was not a party.

I don’t know if she was disappointed, probably on some level she was since her older sister had a very nice gathering of friends and family when she graduated high school a couple of years ago, but Kat is not the jealous type. She’s never begrudged her older sister for anything, and I’m sure that when the sun set on Saturday Kat was just fine.

Although, if she hadn’t decided what she wanted for dinner that evening she may have had to have leftovers for her graduation meal. How memorable is that?

Actually. Kind of memorable if you think about it, and in an atmosphere of total fun, I bet she’d like that.

The type of celebration that my granddaughter and her peers are having is not the only thing that’s so dramatically different for high school seniors this year. So are the plans, or the lack of plans, that they have been able to make for the future.

College is on hold. Any summer jobs are on hold. It seems like our whole lives are on hold because of this COVID 19.

But again, the impact the virus is having is not something that’s of all-consuming concern for Kat. She seems to be adapting incredibly well to whatever comes her way and perhaps one day she will be telling her kids and grandkids about the very bizarre high school graduation she had.

In the meantime, this proud grandma wishes her well for whatever comes next in her life. I know she will accept it with as much grace as she has everything in her life, and good things lie ahead. She is smart. She is strong. She is… Kat.

Have you had a not-your-ordinary graduation in your family this year? Want to give a shout out to a kid or grandkid you’re proud of? Go ahead and leave a comment and we will celebrate all.

And in case you haven’t seen the nationwide online celebration to celebrate all graduates, here’s a link to the YouTube video.

4 thoughts on “Graduating This Year?”

  1. Rosa Ledezma-Trevino

    Thank you for this. It described my own 2020 graduate to a T! Only difference is the graduate is my son, the youngest of my kids. Like Kat, he has been the most chill one throughout all of this. (His older brother graduated last year, walked into to a huge, surprise graduation party—he wouldn’t have handled this year’s event with ease. He needs structure, not uncertainty.) I tried to make myself feel better by telling everyone how historic this moment is. I graduated with Kat’s mom, Corina, so sharing about this milestone is even more special. I believe our class rented the cap & gown as well; I have my stole in an old scrapbook still. My son’s graduation ceremony was different too. Only two guests per graduate, socially distanced, wearing masks, grads too, and no hanging around afterwards for pictures. Get in your car and leave when dismissed. I cried behind my mask as I stood in the stands during their class song. Thank you again for sharing this. It was comforting to read that we were not alone in our sentiments.

    1. So nice to hear from one of Corina’s friends. It’s interesting to see how different schools are handling the ceremonies. So many of them are virtual. I know Kat’s was. Do you think the ceremony for your son’s class was more meaningful because you were all together, even in light of the social distancing? Congratulations to your son.

  2. Our grandson (and only grandchild), Tyler Freimuth graduated from Omaha North High School this year. Andy and I went over to Tyler’s house and celebrated with him and his parents as we watched a virtual graduation. I did buy some decorations and we had yard signs. Tyler stayed in the living room until his name and those of his good friends were read then he went back to his room. After it was all done we got dinner to go and enjoyed sitting outside on the patio. KristA is planning a graduation/birthday party in July. He will be attending the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and for the summer is working at a local grocery store. We are very proud of him for all he has accomplished without complaining. I think his biggest disappointment was having to cancel his trip to Germany and Italy with his mother and best friend. He was going to visit the families he stayed with as an exchange student in Germany. Like all the other 2020 graduates I am sure they will make a mark in this world because of all they have had to face.

    1. Thanks for sharing about Tyler’s graduation. Gosh, I remember when you were first so ecstatic when he was born. Wasn’t that just last year? LOL So sorry he had to miss that great trip. Congrats all around, and you are so right about this year’s graduates making a special mark on this world.

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