NORWOOD, Ohio — It’s a rite of passage that almost all high school students and their families look forward to: wearing a cap and gown and walking across a stage to receive a hard-earned diploma while family and friends cheer from the stands.
But with a new recommendation from Ohio Department of Education that all graduations be held virtually, the dream of a graduation ceremony may never become a reality.
Seniors at Norwood High School are getting used to their new normal.
“It’s definitely a shame that we don’t get to finish out our senior year,” said Norwood senior Lilly Peter.
Peter and her senior classmates were supposed to graduate on May 18. Now their graduation is scheduled for the end of summer, and the new recommendation even puts that new date in jeopardy.
“We’ve pushed it back to August 10; so we don’t really know how it’s going to happen yet,” said Norwood senior class president Paityn Rudd.
Ohio State Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) said he doesn’t agree with the new recommendation, and instead wants to let schools hold modified in-person graduations.
“They say they can do it safely,” Huffman said. “They’ll make plans to do it safely, six feet apart. They just want the opportunity to look at it.”
It’s a plan that Norwood senior John Cole hopes his school will be able to follow.
“I would like to see in-person graduation as soon as possible, but we have to do what we can to stay safe at the same time,” Cole said.
As Ohio begins to reopen businesses in incremental stages, right now schools still have the choice to determine what their graduation ceremonies will look like.
Seniors are hoping for the best but being realistic too.
“I’m just holding on to some sort of hope that it will happen sometime this summer or if we can just do it virtually, we have a virtual one planned as a backup,” said Norwood senior Sydney Ryan.