Elise Stimson

Professor McCourt

WRT 120–43

29 November 2020

2020 is nothing like anyone anticipated. Thousands of people missed out on opportunities that they had been dreaming about for years. That is why I’m incredibly grateful that I still got a remarkable graduation. I was looking forward to my graduation ever since I attended my sister’s. Her pure happiness radiated onto everyone there and from that point on, I truly understood the importance of graduation. It wasn’t just about celebrating your accomplishments, it was about recognizing your future and looking forward to all the blessing that life would give you from that day on. My ceremony was by no means normal but it still signified the same importance as traditional ceremonies did before the pandemic.

This was by far the most eventful and greatest day of my year. I remember waking up that day with my cap and gown hanging on my bedroom door, while I thought, “wow, I can’t believe I still get an in-person graduation.” I got ready like any other day but while I was doing my hair and makeup, I heard some noise outside. To my surprise it was my family, my aunt and cousins had come over to set up some decorations outside my house for my big day. The smile on my face was the most genuine it had been all year because this graduation was more than just getting a diploma. I live for the experiences and everyone knows that I was looking forward to graduation ever since my first day of high school. My family knew that since I couldn’t have a real graduation with all the decorations, they brought it to me. Since our graduation was a drive-through one, my sisters even decorated our car. I vividly remember what the types of pom-poms and tassels they used with my high school’s colors everywhere to create a cheerful atmosphere for that whole day. After that joyful surprise, I continued getting ready for the day. My dress that day was so pretty, and the shade of white matched my shoes perfectly. Soon we all hustled into the car for the first time since before quarantine.

Pulling up to my high school as a student for the last time was a feeling of happiness that was unprecedented. Needless to say, a smile stayed on my face the entire day. We all met up before hand to take pictures before entering the stadium in our separate cars. I greeted my friends with the continuous, “I missed you” and the “I told you that dress would love great”. By no means was our cars all decked out in blue and white decorations normal. But all my friends being together again and having a great time, it did provide a sense of normalcy, by even just being together for a day. As we rolled into the stadium at my high school, I sat through the sunroof of my family’s car. The sun shining on my face, the wind blowing my hair while I kept tight hold of my cap was a moment that I wished I could relive over and over again. I remember looking before me as my friends smiled and we pulled on the track that continued until the red carpet. Socially distanced there stood all my high school teachers waving and smiling, as they were happy to see out enthusiastic faces for one last time as students at North Penn High School. I’ve always loved school spirit and football games so seeing the teachers that I made connection with was truly gratifying. Another aspect that made this moment truly incredible was the music. As cliché as this might sound, the music really pulled this experience together. I do not remember the exact songs, but it was motivational songs that has a sense of accomplishment to them. The songs were played at a perfect volume so that I could hear my friends in the other cars, chat with them and get someone group pictures while we waited for our moment.

As I was pulling up to the red carpet, the warm air, sun gleaming on my face and the ecstatic atmosphere created a personalized experience. I then heard my name being called on the loudspeaker as I stepped out onto the track for the final time as a high schooler. The moment that I had been waiting for was finally here. As I walked up the red carpet, my administrators eye smiled at me. Taking note of my excitement, they all said, “congratulations”. Approaching the miniature stage, I shook hands with my principal and superintendent as they handed over my diploma, signifying me entering the world as an adult. While on stage, I got my picture taken and exhilaratingly walked back to my car while still smiling and throwing peace signs in the air. My family hugged me, and my parents told how proud they were of me to achieve this and now be off to college. I happily watched from my car as my friends received their diplomas one by one, with all of my friends yelling, “Yay” and “Congratulations”, and “I love you” from the car. As they were handed over their diplomas with the matching exhilarating happiness displayed all over their faces too. Rolling out of the stadium, waving goodbye to the staff members was a bittersweet moment, as I am sure that we will go back to visit them once the pandemic is over. My friends and I still trying to contain our enthusiasm as pulled out of the stadium and up to the front for pictures. Although our pictures were on a still full of pure bliss, the vivid memories provided throughout track, Crawford Stadium, are unmatched.

Looking back at my graduation, I am so grateful that we still got to have a ceremony. The warmth, the sunshine, the happiness, the time spent with my friends and family are incomparable to any event in my life. The normalcy and ability to let loose on this day did not make the quarantine worth it by any means, but it did make the experience even more enjoyable in a way. With that being said, June 6 2020 will be a day that will replay in my memories for years to come.

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