"Special" Graduation

Counselor Jackie Johnston has a conversation with a high school senior. They talk about how her school year was disrupted by COVID-19 and ways to cope.

Video Transcript:

Especially after going through grade school for twelve years these were going to be the most fun months and all of a sudden we’re at school one day. No one knew it’d be our last day of school and then we go home. They say there’s a two week break and everyone says, “yay okay sure.” The next thing you know the year’s just gone. I bought my dress for prom in January. Really looking forward to graduation. Grad night hasn’t been cancelled yet, but it’s just a matter of time. I didn’t know that one random Friday in March would be the last time I see a lot of people. It sucks. 

I mean I understand that because you only graduate from high school one time. After twelve years of school and now it’s gone unrecognized. Have you thought about a way it could be a tribute to you and you could still have a special moment for graduation? 

Not really. What can I do? I can’t really meet up with people and celebrate together, but just doing everything virtual is just not the same. 

But hopefully this virus stuff won’t last forever and you can make up and do things like I know when I graduated high school we did senior ditch day. We all went to the beach and the park and stuff. So maybe you can get together with your friends that way and also with your family. I know they’re super proud of you. What was the most amazing thing about being a senior in high school?

The most amazing thing? Just as a senior it feels like your whole year is shaped around you. You know like they have the special senior events and then there’s prom which is junior and senior only. We have spirit days and stuff. I feel like everything’s just aimed towards the seniors. Sports have their senior nights. So overall it’s just a good experience. It’s a special year. You know it’s the last hurrah for you before everyone goes their separate ways and everyone finds a new group of people. 

Yeah, there’s college and everything. What are your parents going to do for your graduation? How are they going to recognize it?

Beats me, I have no idea. 

Because I know that when you graduate from high school there’s senior speeches and stuff and people talk about their life in school. What about just writing something to share with your friends and your family about what being a senior means to you and actually share how disappointed you are that you won’t have the typical things that every senior looks forward to. 

I mean. I could do that. 

Because to me you can actually be your own valedictorian and you can give an inspiring speech. I know you’re a very intellectual person and you’re very intuitive. So a lot of seniors are probably having some of the same reservations that you’re having and disappointments that you’re having. This might be a way to share something and kind of make a new tradition, but I don’t think you’re buying it because you’re looking at me crazy. That’s okay you know because I know everyone looks forward to that senior year. That’s your time. That’s your time to shine, spend with your friends, and get those memories. So what are you going to do instead. 

I don’t really know. I’m going to see people when I can. Who knows when that’s going to be?

Well I’m hoping it’s going to be sooner than later because this has been kind of crazy for everybody and there’s a lot of people disappointed. Not only high school seniors, but graduates from college are also disappointed. It is a great disappointment and I think you’re taking it pretty good, but I can tell from the look on your face you’re really disappointed. I’m really sorry for that because you know we have the things that we look forward to in life, but life is full of ups and downs. It almost never goes the way we planned. So I would like to see you try to do something remarkable for you and individually for you and your family that you can share with your friends later on. Then when you get together and you can be with your friends, you guys celebrate anyway you can. Have a dance at somebody’s house or something and make it like the senior prom. You know dress up in your dresses and have your corsages and stuff like that and be with the person that’s special to you because it’s not a matter of when it happens. The point is that it can happen. It’s just gonna be delayed and it’s gonna be different, but I think you have a creative mind. You can think of something once the disappointment dies down a little bit.