While schools adapt this year’s graduation ceremonies due to public health concerns, students, parents and teachers are adjusting to ceremonies they did not have in mind. Some Utahns have petitioned for traditional ceremonies, and some have organized creative graduation alternatives.
“I think they did a really good job. They did the best they could with what they had," Rachael Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen’s daughter graduated from high school in the Washington county school district this year. Rasmussen created a petition on change.org asking the school to reschedule graduation for a later date instead of holding a virtual graduation.
On the website change.org, people can make petitions for causes that are important to them. The petition Rasmussen created had hundreds of signatures, however, the school moved forward with their plans to hold a virtual graduation ceremony.
Rasmussen said although the school did a great job under the circumstances, it was not the experience her family was expecting.
“I wanted my family and friends that couldn’t be there to see too. You know while you’re filming something you’re not really involved. It’s kind of like I wasn’t really involved at all," she said.
There were at least five petitions made on change.org to fight for real graduation ceremonies at multiple Utah schools and districts, including the Washington county school district, Union High School, Dixie High school, Roy High School and the Canyons school district.
While some schools have done a larger, virtual graduations like Washington County, others adapted theirs to be smaller, individual recognition. For example, teachers from Cache High traveled on a school bus to each graduate’s house to congratulate them personally.
According to school counselor Launi Evans, many of the students and families embraced the non-traditional ceremony, and had fun with it.
As schools throughout the state continue to finish instruction throughout the month, it is likely that other types of adapted graduation celebrations will appear.