The Class of 2020 has had to give up a lot of traditional rites of passage, after schools across the country closed early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are certainly tough times for graduating high school seniors, who also face uncertainty about what college or work will look like next year. But there are some silver linings within the crisis, including communities finding new ways to come together and creativity and STEAM skills blossoming when people are given the space to get bored.
In fact, even while we remain physically distant some might argue we’re more socially connected than ever. Check out these ways grads, educators, and community members are ensuring the Class of 2020 makes their mark on history, bittersweet as it may be.
Senior Photos Replaced by “PorchTraits”
From Waco to Sacramento, both professional and amateur photographers around the country have busted out their telephoto lenses to capture graduating seniors’ “porchtraits” from a safe six feet away. Some seniors wear their caps and gowns, while others take the opportunity to show off their prom regalia.
Jason Weaver, of Nashville-based Mac Brown photographers, has been providing porchtrait sessions at no cost, and went a step further by having seniors hold up a sign with one word summarizing how they feel. The emotions he captured range from ‘unfinished’ and ‘anxious’ to ‘hopeful.’
Virtual Tassels and More on TikTok
Turning your tassel might be the most definitive moment marking graduation, right up there with tossing your cap. The uber-innovative class of 2020 has taken to social media and put their own spin on tassel turning. TikTok user @stevennmarquezz captured the bittersweet moment so poignantly, and immediately inspired others to try the same creative, COVID-related effect.
Last Saturday, TikTok made things official and partnered with XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation, and The Entertainment Industry Foundation to bring users a special LIVE stream graduation with the likes of the Obamas, Malala Yousafzai, Megan Rapinoe, and more.
From Yearbooks to Yard Signs
Most schools arranged curbside pickups so seniors could still get their caps and gowns, but our friends at Montour School District in Pennsylvania took it a step further with their personalized yard signs. What a great way to dedicate some lawn space typically reserved for local mayoral races, and instead give families a fun way to show off each senior’s photo, achievements, club affiliations, and quotes.
Recreating Prom with Creative Coding
From pinning on a boutonniere to ALL. THAT. DANCING. There’s no way to recreate prom while social distancing–not with humans at least! Enter the robots, who do their best to mimic each step in this Ozobot prom from Certified Educator extraordinaire Rene Perry. Want to create your own Ozobot prom at home? Follow the steps in this Dance-Off lesson and be sure to tag us @ozobot to share your creations.
Our hearts go out to the Class of 2020, their teachers and parents, and everyone who has had to hit pause and start to reimagine their dreams and aspirations in the wake of this global pandemic. We don’t have the answers, but we do have your backs. And we’ll always be here to cheer you on as you create the future.