It has been a crazy couple of weeks. Due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, school ended abruptly, and classes started online. No one is really sure if we will return on May 4, as scheduled. Some are happy to get to do their schoolwork from home, some consider it a break. Our seniors, on the other hand, may feel like their year is not what they expected. All this chaos has left seniors wondering what the rest of their year will be like. What if their senior year as they know it ended Friday, March 6, before Spring Break? What if they don’t get to say goodbye to their favorite teachers the way they wanted? And, most importantly, what will happen to prom? To graduation?
“Graduation is still on the calendar for May 17. We have not received any guidance from the district at this time regarding these two events. As the OTHS administration receives information from the district about these events, we will certainly pass that information on to our students and community,” said Scott Shanks, 12th grade Assistant Principal.
In Katy ISD, no one is sure of what will happen. Even though school has been cancelled until May 4, which is well after prom and close to graduation, the district has still not decided what to do about these events, though they seem reluctant to cancel them because of how important they are to the students. It can probably be concluded prom is cancelled, if not rescheduled. As for graduation, it is even harder to know. By May 17, everything could be back to normal, or at least normal enough to host the event. However, the Texas Education Commissioner recently released a statement stating ‘large numbers’ of Texas students will likely miss the rest of the school year. If this is the case, it is not looking good for graduation. Even though the thought of missing the events is painful for some seniors, it is important to remember that their cancellation would be for the safety and benefit of the community as a whole.
“I have a daughter who has a dress and is anxious to go, but may not get to. What I have told her, and what I would like all of the seniors of 2020 to know, is that there are few things in life that bond you with others across an entire nation. The entire United States of America Class of 2020 is faced with the possibility of no prom or graduation. No matter where these students go in this country, and no matter when, they will have an instant connection with all people their age, whether they are 28 or 88. I think that is pretty cool,” said Dawn Champagne, a member of the school board.
Champagne is a school board member who recognizes the importance of these senior milestones and believes something should be done in lieu of these events if they are cancelled. She thinks that a virtual graduation or at-school party set at a later date could substitute these events.However, the school board does not have any official plans as of yet. Other schools have done Zoom proms, where students get dressed up and log into a virtual server. Unfortunately, some schools that cancelled graduation are just mailing out diplomas and calling it a day. For seniors, the idea of events you have been dreaming about since the start of high school being cancelled may be disheartening. If you’re a senior, you might want to brainstorm ideas you have to augment or postpone these events. That way, if they do get cancelled, you can email the school and give your suggestions.
“I would encourage seniors to do their best to concentrate on the positive with a spirit of gratitude. Your senior year is not going as planned, but most of you are getting to spend a lot of time with your families. Make the most of this. I look forward to seeing all of you as soon as possible,” said Shanks.