By Emily Pham
It is that time of the year again where thousands of seniors celebrate their final months with family and friends as they get ready to cross the stage to receive their diploma and begin a new journey in life. For most students, they have spent most of their lives working toward this special and memorable moment. However, there was a slight change to the commencement ceremony this year to commemorate their long time accomplishments due to the chaotic and sudden pandemic. In place of a traditional graduation, students had the opportunity to walk across the stage with two of their loved ones in which it was filmed and will be streaming online on June 5 into a compiled version of the ceremony. Although traditional gathering graduation parties are likely cancelled, there are still a variety of ways one can celebrate their accomplishments with the people they love.
With students going through countless first days of school, late-night study sessions, and schedules full of extracurriculars to reach this milestone, they can still celebrate this unforgettable achievement and memory in many ways while maintaining a safe social distance. One of the best parts of this special event is to gather with friends and family for a joyous celebration. Senior Onora Hatchette stated, “My triplets and I have been celebrating at home with the family since family is where the heart is to make memories.” Although a party or gathering is not an option this year, it does not mean that one cannot get together with others to celebrate and reminisce all the good memories they had. In fact, one can host a virtual party through chat services like Zoom, FaceTime, or Google Hangout with friends and families to share and have a meaningful conversation with some words of wisdom for the coming years. Senior Jen Valencia stated, “My sister is in Virginia for the navy and I have FaceTimed her at least everyday just so it feels like she’s home with us. With friends, I text them as much as possible just to check up on them because I feel it’s important to know how they’re doing during this time.” One can even create their very own mini scrapbook or collage, and write a little something that explains their journey. The best part is that they can share this over video call, and have a laugh of all the good memories. On top of this, students can even host a drive-by car parade where they can dress in their cap and gown and wave to their loved ones from a safe distance. Overall, memories can be made through small yet meaningful activities to celebrate this special milestone.
These activities provide a unique and memorable experience; however, no graduation party would be complete without having a photoshoot. Although one’s graduation may have been different than they expected, photos can still help preserve the day. Hatchette added, “I would definitely recommend [to] take pictures. . .[since they] make the purest moments last forever. Maybe by some lakes and definitely old schools you have attended.” In fact, Temecula parks have been reopened to the public as well as a few other activities during this time. Harveston’s parks allow guests to take a walk around the lake and gaze at the beautiful sunset which can be a great photo opportunity for students in their cap and gown. One can even have a photoshoot through the vineyards and farms while picking some fresh strawberries, blueberries, and more. One of the most popular farms in the Temecula area is the U-Pick Blueberry Farm, which is located right off of Cantrell Road. These places are perfect to hang out and take dozens of pictures with friends and families while making unforgettable memories.
These graduation parties and activities are creative opportunities to celebrate one’s accomplishments. Whether big or small, a graduation party should be all about one’s reach to this special milestone, featuring special and meaningful activities surrounded by parents, friends, and family taking part in the special occasion.