TAHS Graduation Ceremony Remains in Limbo

The+Tyrone+graduating+class+of+2020+hopes+to+be+able+to+throw+their+caps+in+the+courtyard+at+some+point+this+spring.+

Todd Cammarata

The Tyrone graduating class of 2020 hopes to be able to throw their caps in the courtyard at some point this spring.

Tyrone seniors are anxious to know when, or even if, the Class of 2020 will have a public graduation ceremony, but the TASD administration has not yet been able to make any final decisions.

“I really hope we get a real graduation. We deserve that, we have worked so hard to get to this point,” says Tyrone Senior Class President Brent McNeel.

My personal hope is for us to have a live graduation ceremony, although it will probably have to look differently than usual”

— Acting Superintendent Leslie Estep

Tyrone is not alone. No other public schools in the area have made a final decision regarding the status of their graduation ceremonies. Meanwhile, local colleges and universities, including Penn State, have either moved to an online graduation ceremony or postponed their ceremony indefinitely.

“My personal hope is for us to have a live graduation ceremony, although it will probably have to look differently than usual,” says acting superintendent Leslie Estep. “Something online is always an option, but it would be a last resort.”

A live graduation is the hope, but as the number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to climb it becomes more apparent that social distancing is needed in order for a live graduation to be viable.

“As we know, however, this is all dependent upon our adherence to the social distancing guidelines over the next month or so and whether or not we have permission to hold such an event in the traditional manner,” says Estep.

Graduation is a big concern of the administration due to its significance and the administration will continue to deliberate on the best approach.

I really hope we get a real graduation. We deserve that, we have worked so hard to get to this point”

— Senior Brent McNeel

“When the schools were first ordered to be closed, it wasn’t too much of a thought. However, after the second closure announcement, and with the threat of an even longer one looming, we knew that we were most likely going to have to make some adjustments. High School graduation is a milestone and we want it to be as meaningful as possible,” says Estep.

The significance of graduation is certainly not lost on the seniors.

“I am worried about losing graduation because it is a huge moment that represents everything I’ve worked towards the last 13 years,” said senior Ebonee Rice. “I’m heartbroken over losing the last months I would have ever had with the people I’ve known since I was little.”

The loss of the last two months of high school classes has also deeply affected the seniors.

“I feel that a huge part was taken, from seeing my classmates to events like prom and senior excellence,” says senior Stephfon Locke.