Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District offices (File photo)

Students across Santa Monica typically spend the month of May preparing to cross the stage where they would shake hands with an administrator and receive their hard-earned diplomas, but the recent pandemic has prospective graduates wondering if they’ll ever be able to celebrate the momentous occasion.

And while Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District graduations are far from the only ones being affected by the recent pandemic, the status of local promotions are on the minds of many, according to SMMUSD officials.

“This is an important question that’s on everyone’s mind right now, and in one of my recent letters to the community I shared with you that we feel the pain associated with our seniors and year-end traditions,” SMMUSD Superintendent Ben Drati recently said. “These are the annual culminating events that we all love and it’s heartbreaking to know that some of these special events will not be able to take place this school year in a traditional sense.”

Currently, district leaders and administrators are working closely together to evaluate a few creative ideas for their students that will properly celebrate the achievements of hardworking scholars across the district, according to Drati.

Students shared Friday that they have a few ideas in mind that would allow them to properly celebrate commencement in a safe manner, but nothing concrete has been worked out.

Samohi ASB President  Parker Lauer said prior to spring break, she and her peers held a Virtual Spirit Week in an effort to keep spirits high.

“We’re all really focusing on keeping it together, because it’s a weird time for everybody, right now,” Lauer said. “A lot of things — like graduation and prom and the other senior activities — are really tentative as far as I know. So I’ve I’m trying to talk to friends and stuff about general things that we can focus on as students.”

Lauer added the spirit week was definitely a nice way to boost morale and distract families from the daily stresses of life that are now multiplied by the pandemic.

“We will be discussing elementary and middle school promotional ideas in the coming weeks,” because principals are determined to make graduation a positive and memorable experience for graduating seniors despite the challenging circumstances presented by Covid-19, Drati said. “I have a son graduating high school this year, too, so I feel the pain that families are feeling over this situation. We especially want our seniors to know that your principals and I have been discussing options regularly and our minds are on celebrating your success and achievements in the coming months.”

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