What will happen to prom and graduation?

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As of April 11, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced the closing of schools for the rest of the academic year. COVID-19 may further affect many highly anticipated events, including Junior Banquet, prom, and graduation. 

Whether or not a graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 will take place remains undetermined. “I would imagine some, if not all, of these events will be postponed or canceled. It is truly unfortunate, especially for the seniors and their families who have worked so hard and looked forward to these culminating events for so long,” Senior Advisor Jaime Baranoff said. 

“[There are] no definite plans. We’re still in the brainstorming phase… We want it to happen, and are hoping it will,” Assistant Principal Ellen Fee stated. Assistant Principal Veronica York added, “The idea of a digital graduation has come up. I think we’re waiting to see [what will happen]. They may make these decisions for all of New York City across the board and [tell us] what they want us to do. Could we do graduation later, could we push it off or do a double graduation the year after?” 

Many seniors stressed the importance of the milestone. “I would be heartbroken if graduation was canceled. Graduation truly marks the end of high school and your transition into college and adulthood,” senior Cathy Choo said. 

However, those who planned on bringing relatives to the ceremony remain hopeful. Senior Dino Mulani commented, “Graduation is especially important to me because my middle school graduation was the first time I saw everyone together in one place.” Cathy agreed and said, “Graduating high school is important for my family given that both my parents did not finish high school. My grandma would always talk about watching me graduate high school, especially since this would be the first graduation she will ever attend for me.”

Originally scheduled for early April, Junior Banquet was another event that many students anticipated. Junior Rachel Chai said, “I was really excited to go to Junior Banquet. [But] we shouldn’t let social distancing stop us from having fun. We should all put on some dresses or suits, blast music, and dance together on Zoom; that way we can get some healthy social interaction.”

Seniors who attended last year continue to reminisce about the experiences they had. Dino said, “I went to the Junior Banquet and it was a blast. Genuinely the best time of junior year. I danced so much on the dance floor that I never got off and loved every second.” 

However, some seniors skipped the banquet, thinking they would still attend prom a year later. “I had already bought a prom dress and planned on renting an Airbnb with a group of friends. Prom was something I was extremely looking forward to since I was a freshman, and it is upsetting that it may get cancelled,” senior Maria Leyba said. 

Beyond “the fun of dressing up and taking pictures,” Cathy explained that prom also “marks a stepping stone in one’s high school career, and this event celebrates all the hard work [seniors had] put in throughout the years.” 

Ms. York emphasizes that, above all, students’ and their families’ safety is the main concern. “As far as school events, I’m disappointed, as are they, that they don’t have the year that they expected after working so hard and we’re doing the best we can in this difficult situation. We want them to have these events. Where we can be creative and figure it out, we will,” she concluded.

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