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Since schools shuttered in March as a result of Covid-19, seniors across California have wondered if they will be able to celebrate their academic journey with a graduation ceremony. After weeks of discussion, Santa Monica High School announced last week that it will hold a virtual ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, and all are invited.

Samohi seniors have spent weeks working with school administrators to determine how to best celebrate their coming graduation in a safe manner for all parties involved.

Once recommendations had been made by the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the public health department, Samohi sent a survey out that detailed three choices for a commencement ceremony, principal Antonio Shelton said, mentioning the survey closed Friday, May 8 with more than 400 student responses. “The majority of students who chose to participate in the survey overwhelmingly chose option 3 — a virtual graduation on June 9th and an in-person graduation with a future date,” which is still to be decided.

“We will be working with a professional to create and guide us through the Virtual Graduation process,” Shelton previously said. “We will also continue our partnership with our Grad Nite parents to ensure that students have an experience that they will not forget.”

Samohi ASB secretary Hanna Skikne said last week that she is disappointed with the fact that her classmates won’t be able to have a traditional graduation experience.

“But I’m very ready to move on to the next chapter of my life and know that we have to have a modified graduation for the safety of everybody. So I’m happy with this way to celebrate,” Skikne said. “I know it was not an easy decision and that it was chosen because they feel it was the best way for the students.”

Shelton agreed with the sentiment, stating: “It feels great to provide an opportunity to recognize our students and celebrate their accomplishments at this difficult time in their lives. This is not easy for our students, nor their families. Having to end the school year without seeing everyone creates a lot of emotions and we want to try our best to create some normalcy for our students.

This is why the district is working with students and teachers to create an experience that they will remember, Shelton added while he detailed the specifics of the ceremony.

For the first time ever students will be able to decorate their caps, according to Skikne, who said, “Personally, I feel this is very special (because) this way they can show some personality and truly be highlighted.”

“Samohi is an amazing community of learners who are braving this crazy pandemic,” Shelton said. “Our students are vibrant, upbeat, strong willed individuals who know how to band together when difficulties arise. I believe without a doubt that this class will use this difficult and unpredictable time as a growth opportunity… This pandemic will only make the Samohi Class of 2020 more powerful in their pursuits in life.”

brennon@smdp.com

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