Schenectady High School looks at new options for 2020 graduation

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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — 2020 seniors say they’re not happy at all with Schenectady City School District’s plan for an online end to their high school career.

“I was infuriated, like so angry. I went to school all these years only to be graduating over the Internet,” says senior Chelsea Palma.

“We moved back up from Florida this year, because I literally begged her to come back because I wanted to graduate with all my friends that I’ve known since I was little,” explains Jaden Schulenburg to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Schenectady City Schools announced two weeks ago graduation speeches would be recorded for students and families to view at home. Mom Claire Morales started a virtual campaign to look at other options.

“It’s not going to be the same. It’s not. The final senior year of high school is supposed to be awesome, but it’s not. It’s kind of a bummer,” she says.

People have been posting their ideas, some similar to other setups around the state.

“I posted a few ideas to the Google Classroom. We have a bunch of fields around the high school and Central Park, so they can set it up like groups of kids graduating at a time,” Palma suggests.

However, High School Principal Diane Wilkinson says they are already looking at other options. Some are just more reasonable than others. Thursday, NYS announced allowing drive thru options for graduation while Sunday, Governor Cuomo allowed gatherings no more than 150 people.

“When you have over 500 kids and then you add two parents and then you add staff, you know you’re talking under 50 kids potentially per event,” Wilkinson explains.

Principal Wilkinson says since the new coronavirus guidelines announced Thursday and Sunday, the school district is in contact with the local health department to see what they can pull off.

“We’ve presented a plan for a drive-through part of it. That has been a plan that we presented and has not been approved yet, but we are very hopeful that it would be,” she says.

She adds administrators are also working closely with the student-run teen advocacy group to get their take on what would mean the most for their final high school moments.

“We want to make sure that we don’t let go of the class of 2020 and that, with the group that we’ve been working with, that there is planning in the future where the day in which we can come hug each other again. That day, we will take advantage of,” Wilkinson says.

“We would have loved nothing more than to have our full, traditional ceremony at Proctor’s and to be with the kids. We know this is devastating for them and these are unprecedented times, but we have to ensure health and safety and that we are following along with the guidance we are given,” she adds.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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