EDITORIAL: Thumbs up for creativity in high school graduations

York Dispatch Editorial Board
Northeastern High School Class of 2019 graduates toss their caps, Thursday, May 30, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Thumbs up to the principals, teachers, students and families working to create a special time for high school graduates this year.

During this unprecedented pandemic spring, local high schools are faced with a dilemma: With no way to hold a traditional commencement ceremony for hundreds of graduating seniors, what is the next best thing?

Local school districts are coming up with creative solutions.

Susquehannock High School plans to hold a traditional graduation ceremony on Aug. 7, with the hope that by then we will be in a more normal situation and the graduates will be able to all come together for a final hurrah before heading their separate ways. 

"Our goal and our focus was to do everything we could possibly do to celebrate this class," Southern York Superintendent Sandra Lemmon said, adding students thought there was a better chance York County would be "in green" by then.

West York is opting for videos of individual graduations that will be released on the original commencement date of June 5, with an in-person cap-tossing at the homecoming game next fall for all graduates who can attend.

Northeastern is planning to bring graduates to the stadium with their families individually on May 29, with graduates' names showing on the scoreboard and photo ops set up. A reunion for the class is being planned for next spring.

"We miss you terribly, and this isn’t the way we wanted it to go," Northeastern principal Matthew Gay said.

Some seniors are saying Red Lion's plan to have a virtual graduation slideshow without bringing students to the campus, paired with an "open house" June 19 if it's possible, won't suffice. More than 1,200 signatures had been added to a Change.org petition by Thursday afternoon calling for a more meaningful ceremony.

While that doesn't sound anything like the usual pomp that surrounds a high school commencement, it is at least an attempt to bring students together for their event during this most unprecedented graduation season.

Eastern York High School's Kelsey Felix has committed to play NCAA Division I field hockey for Lock Haven University.

Thumbs up for Eastern York field hockey goalie Kelsey Felix, who is fulfilling a dream and continuing a family legacy.

Felix recently committed to play on the NCAA Division I level for Lock Haven University, which is where her mother, Steph Felix, played as a midfielder.

Steph, a 1996 Lock Haven graduate, also just happens to be Kelsey's head coach at Eastern's head field hockey coach. 

More:Eastern York field hockey goalie fulfills dream, commits to NCAA Division I program

The fact that her mother was a Bald Eagle was a major factor in Kelsey's decision.

"My mom would always talk about the history, culture and atmosphere at Lock Haven, being a family rather than just a team," Kelsey said. "When I visited Lock Haven I instantly knew that I wanted to be a part of this family and it was the perfect school for me."

Good luck, Kelsey!

Thumbs down to President Donald Trump, still refusing to wear a mask in public even as White House staffers become sick with COVID-19.

Trump arrived in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Thursday on a campaign-like visit to highlight a U.S. medical equipment distributor that is helping make and ship gowns, gloves and other personal protective gear across the country to help with the coronavirus response.

Trump did not wear a face covering as he stepped off Air Force One, and scores of people lining the motorcade route followed his lead, not wearing masks and chanting “USA” and “four more years” as Trump arrived at Owens and Minor Inc.

Once at the plant, Trump spoke to dozens of employees, all with covered faces and sitting at a proper social distance. Trump could learn a thing or two from them.