Last spring, high schools got creative for the class of 2020’s graduation ceremonies.
Families gathered in their cars and lined the track of the Gainesville Raceway instead of sitting in an auditorium. Cameras surrounded the stage to capture a live stream for those who could not attend. Graduating seniors walked across the stage as their names blasted through the loudspeakers, then they went back into their cars.
The local TV station, CBS-4, aired primetime events dedicated to all the graduating high school seniors of Class of 2020. Each high school in Alachua County had its own half-hour segment filled with speeches, musical performances and graduation photos. The Gainesville Sun also published a commemorative spread that included students’ pictures along with their names.
“We told them, ‘look you guys have been through a lot, but nobody is ever going to forget the class of 2020,’” said Jackie Johnson, the Alachua County Schools Public Information Officer.
As Florida reported more positive cases, schools at all levels got an extended spring break and continued classes online rather than in person. Unfortunately, that also meant schools had to modify their graduation celebrations and cancel events, such as prom and grad bash.
Now in the 2020-2021 school year, school districts have decided to allow proms and graduations since positivity rates continue to decrease. Universal Orlando has cancelled Grad Bash and Gradventure celebrations and plans to resume hosting these events in spring 2022.