Columbus high school graduates reflect on COVID-19 schooling
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Graduation season is underway for Columbus high schools, with the first ceremonies taking place Wednesday night.
Columbus students in the Class of 2022 have had quite the high school experience, with some or all of their sophomore, junior and senior years impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The need to face the challenges of the pandemic was mentioned by a few speakers, both students and professors, during the ceremonies on Wednesday.
The graduates said that having been through everything that they had made their degree even more special.
“No one has ever faced the challenges you have faced in history,” said Beechcroft High School Principal Dr. Samuel Johnson Jr. “Each of you deserves to enjoy your success .”
A passionate principal wishing the Beechcroft Class of 2022 all the best on their upcoming journey, ending a high school career marked by distance learning, remote and in-person learning, and in-person five days a week, all covering parts of their second year, juniors and seniors.
“Despite the circumstances, you persevered and sat in the Battelle Ballroom today,” Johnson said. “Throughout your tenure at BHS, you have gone through an ever-changing educational environment caused by a pandemic.”
Taurean Pender graduate remembers when it all started well.
“March 12, 2020,” Pender said. “A day that I’m pretty sure we can all say like it happened yesterday.”
It’s a day the Wilson family remembers too, but Wednesday – graduation day – is a much better memory, wearing matching shirts and holding matching signs to cheer on their daughter Zion as she gets her diploma.
“It was a really tough COVID year, but we pulled it off and I graduated, so that’s all I care about right now,” Zion Wilson said. “I’m happy and I’m done.”
“It was a bit difficult because who wants to do Zoom School?” said Zion’s mother, Kesha Wilson. “Nobody wants to go to school on Zoom, but they did and they did. They went all the way.”
The long hugs after the ceremony, clinging to this journey while preparing for the next.
“It was really tough and a lot of the time, like I said, I was doubting myself, but I knew I could go ahead and I knew I could do it,” said graduate Kevin Figueroa.
Six graduation ceremonies were held Wednesday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, with many more planned over the coming days.
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