We need a way to celebrate

My Nikkel’s Worth column

There is a crime in progress this year, but we really can’t pinpoint who the criminal is exactly.

The crime (one among many) is the robbery of graduation ceremonies, for university and high school graduates, the Class of 2020.

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This theft, much like the loss of jobs and of freedom to a large degree, is across the board, and impacts every community, every high school and university, and the family and friends of every graduate.

The culprit, of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has similarly robbed a great many people from marking major occurrences, everything from weddings to funerals.

Some people have found creative ways around the restrictions of physical distancing and around large gatherings. Programs like Zoom, Webex and Microsoft Teams are proliferating as it allows anyone with a smart phone or computer to get together and see and hear others.

It’s a poor substitute, to be sure, particularly if one has a wedding that should be a celebration for friends and family with dancing, hugs and congratulations all around. Same with grad — how can our young people be robbed of such an important milestone in their lives? For high school students, it’s the end of their childhood education journey, and for most marks the entrance into adulthood, including post-secondary education and a career.

For university students, it’s an achievement on the path to one’s career or chosen profession.

Perhaps a celebration could be held later to mark this significant milestone, but what about the present?

There are ways to get around the restrictions, such as a virtual celebration online or by video. But what about the amazing dresses the young ladies have bought, and the fancy tuxes that the guys wanted to show off? What about the opportunity to have one last get-together to mark the end of secondary schooling?

The get-together can’t happen, legally, but there could be other ways to mark the occasion, such as a parade, or an outdoor drive-in setting, where each family is in a vehicle and are physically distancing from other family groups.

This is a great opportunity for some creativity, and to help families and the community celebrate for now until a better chance comes along.