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Take That, Pandemic!

No prom. No spring band and orchestra concerts. No plays or musicals. No hanging out with friends. No awards ceremony for graduating seniors.

High school in 2020 was abruptly reduced to ZOOM classwork and seeing your friends through blurry transmissions over the airwaves.

Surely the virus would have moved on by May. At my grandson Nate’s high school, the graduation ceremony was canceled, then on again, before ultimately being declared OFF. Too much risk. Too much close contact, 600 students sitting together in rows of chairs, thousands of parents and family members crowded onto bleacher seats, watching students receive their diplomas, row-by-row. It was so disappointing.

Well, there may have been a few murmurs about “At least we won’t have to sit through the principal’s farewell and the gratuitous orations from various school board members.”

Still, it was heartbreaking for the kids, after their four years of hard work.

Nate received a call from the Vice-Principal. “Be ready for a picture and a visitor at 2:00.” He duly put on a shirt and tie and was delighted to step out on his porch at the designated time, and receive a certificate for the “Class of 2020 Senior Parents’ Scholarship.” Apparently, this was the first year the scholarship was awarded, and came from money originally intended for the graduation party and other senior events. The award was to one boy and one girl. He also received a program showing the other award recipients, just as if there had been an awards ceremony.

That was pretty ingenious.

But, not to be outdone, some enterprising parents decided there WOULD be a graduation ceremony of some type. An announcement was posted on the school Facebook page, for a “drive-by” opportunity.

At the designated time, Nate and his family joined a line of cars outside a church parking lot. There, they saw a banquet table set up with flowers, balloons, and decorated with the appropriate bottles of bleach and toilet paper. The banquet table became a stage, for each grad to walk across and receive a gift bag, while appreciative horns tooted.

Nate climbed back into the car, smiling and recognized, as a graduating senior. It’s one of life’s milestones, after all.

Take that, pandemic. Well done, parents.

How about you? Did you see some lemons turned into lemonade during this trying time?


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