Polk students ponder: What to do about graduation?

Remember your high school graduation? For many people, the ceremony is a combination of pride and jitters.

Like school districts across the country, Polk County recently gave high school seniors disturbing news. Graduations, as planned, are not going to happen because of COVID-19.

“We wanted our seniors to know that we care about them, and we want to do our best to celebrate this monumental occasion,” assistant superintendent Tami Dawson said during a Zoom meeting on Monday.

To help find an alternative, Polk County Schools is asking seniors to complete an online survey. The survey asks what would they rather have -- a drive-through graduation, a virtual one, or a traditional one in June or July, if it is safe to do so at that point.

“I feel like we should still have the opportunity to walk across the stage,” commented Czerise Villiers, who attends Lake Gibson High. 

“I want something to go right, that’s why I voted for the drive-through one,” said Diana Garcia from Fort Meade Middle High. “It’s unique and I like it.”

Ruben Cienfuegos, from Ridge Community High, says he and his circle of friends want the old-fashioned kind, with all the pomp and circumstance.

“We want a traditional one,” he said, which he says they are willing to wait for.

COVID-19 is not only turning seniors’ worlds upside down because graduation dates have been canceled. Proms, senior farewells, and other important social gatherings have been canceled as well.