“Graduate Together” shows that Class of 2020 matters even in a pandemic

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By Ally Najera

You were a senior walking down the halls of your school on a Friday without thinking much about it. You had a Statistics quiz coming up next week. There was a lunch in your locker that you’d forgotten about. Nothing was out of the norm. All was as it had been for the last four years.  Suddenly, your life along with every other senior in the world was disrupted. Friday March 13 wasn’t just an average day, but in fact the last day on campus of your high school career. No one could have predicted this turn of events.

With the stay-at-home order, social distancing has robbed seniors of the opportunities to celebrate important milestones, opportunities we cannot get back.  While the focus now is on graduation, these missed opportunities also include prom, hanging with friends, senior awards, and being able to knowingly walk the campus for the last time in your life.  

To minimize the disappointment and reinstill faith and hope into this year’s graduates, an live event was set up on May 16  titled  “Graduate Together” which streamed on Youtube, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and on CBS.  Celebrities such as Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Malala Yousafzai and many others gave brief words of motivation claiming class of 2020 to be the future.  Latino singer Bad Bunny was present as well encouraging every studentall students  to follow their dreams, giving a special shoutout to Latinos. Other celebrities performed for the graduating class such as Dua Lipa, Alicia Keys, H.E.R., and others.  

Whether it was a brief speech filled with kind and inspiring words or a live performance to lift the spirits, “Graduate Together” gave unity and hope.  The event featured Lebron James throughout, emphasizing possibilities for the future.

“My message is stay close to home, pursue every ambition.  Go as far as you possibly can dream and be the first generation to embrace the new responsibility; a responsibility to rebuild your community. Class of 2020 the world has changed, you will determine how we rebuild it,” James said. 

What made this event so unique and different from other events was that seniors were able to get involved with the event as well.  This included stating their names and which school they came from, followed by introducing an act or a speaker.  Some were able to participate by performing in the background.  In fact one of Granada Hill Charter’s own, senior Jennifer Beristain, member of our dance team was a featured dancer along Karol G and the Jonas Brothers.  She was able to get involved through her dancing/acting agency, allowing her to book this gig and proudly representing GHC.

“It felt amazing to be a part of this.  We’re all going through this struggle together, but this experience made me feel closer to seniors everywhere more than ever.  I was so happy to be a part of such a powerful movement, where everyone comes together to celebrate the class of 2020.  It gave me a sense of closure, something that I’d thought I’d lost completely after this virus came to be,” Beristain said.

Though this event was curated for the seniors who missed out on a traditional graduation ceremony, James took the time to thank educators, community leaders, family members, and artists because of their part in shaping the students.  

Even if this is not what we could have imagined for ourselves, the Class of 2020 is the future. Congratulations to this year’s graduates, now onto many great future endeavors.

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