It seems that the Class of 2021 may get a small sense of normalcy after a remarkably abnormal school year. On February 23, Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) Superintendent Robert Runcie announced all graduations would be held in-person for this year’s graduating class.
“We are planning to have live, in-person graduations [this year],” Runcie said in a press conference. “They will be somewhat modified. What that modification will entail is going to depend on the size of the venues that we can actually secure and other things we are going to be able to work out logistically.”
This announcement is a sigh of relief for many people. After the cancellation of many other school events this year, both students and staff are looking forward to having graduation in-person.
“I am so happy that students and their families will be given the option to choose to participate virtually or in-person to suit their individual needs.”Class of 2021 sponsor Nicole Hicks
“I am so happy that students and their families will be given the option to choose to participate virtually or in-person to suit their individual needs,” Class of 2021 sponsor Nicole Hicks said. “This is an incredible group of students and I am thankful our Cowboys and all seniors in Broward will be able to end their high-school [years] with [a] positive memory.”
However, the decision to host such a large event in-person has raised many concerns about safety. There are nearly 600 students in this year’s graduating class, and some feel like having an event with so many people can be dangerous.
“I think [with] the current situation with COVID and all, we need to realize that our own personal happiness and the feeling of community we get should not be prioritized over the safety and well-being of everyone else,” senior Piper Breslin said. “I feel like we [should] make that sacrifice this year.”
Right now, it is unclear how and where these live graduations will take place and whether or not students can invite guests, but CCHS’s administration is expected to release more information sometime next week.
This announcement is one of several in recent days concerning this year’s seniors.
This announcement is one of several in recent days concerning this year’s seniors. In a special school board meeting held on February 23, the School Board of Broward County (SBBC) voted to waive the volunteer requirement for the Class of 2021. Due to the obstacles derived from the pandemic and current eLearning situation, seniors will not have to fulfill the 40-hour requirement in order to graduate.
Even though they are no longer required for the Class of 2021, volunteer hours are still relevant for seniors as the Florida Bright Futures scholarships still require anywhere from 30 to 100 volunteer hours for their applicants.
Currently, the volunteer graduation requirement still stands for all subsequent graduating classes.
Although their volunteer requirement was waived, seniors still have a bit of prepping to do before their big day. Seniors need to secure their caps and gowns for the event. But so far, very few seniors have this crucial part of their graduation get-up.
“As of [February 12] only 299 [of the] 593 seniors [have] purchased their cap and gown.”Class of 2022 and Cowboy Television (CTV) sponsor Alfredo Pichardo
“As of [February 12] only 299 [of the] 593 seniors [have] purchased their cap and gown,” Class of 2022 and Cowboy Television (CTV) sponsor Alfredo Pichardo said.
If seniors choose not to purchase their caps and gowns, there will be consequences. Assuming guests are allowed, they will not be given tickets.
“If they do not get [their cap and gown], no [graduation] tickets will be distributed to them,” Pichardo said.
Seniors have until February 28 to purchase their cap and gown at early bird pricing; after that, the price of the graduation packages will increase.
Photo courtesy of BCPS