Pioneer Seniors Have Mixed Feelings About Graduation Plans

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On Wednesday May 5, Ann Arbor Public Schools’ Superintendent Jeanice Swift announced that Pioneer would be holding graduation on June 3 at Holloway Field in two cohorts, one at 5:30 and the other at 7. She wrote that these ceremonies, “Will have many features of a traditional AAPS graduation ceremony.” However, there are several major derivations from past graduations on top of the split class and change in location. Differences include limiting spectators to four per family, making them sit in the stadium’s bleachers, and having students sit and receive their diplomas while maintaining social distance.

The fact that seniors are having an in-person graduation at all is good news for some. Pioneer senior Adam Karibian said, “I’m excited to see what the staff and faculty have planned and I feel like it was the right thing to do so the parents could enjoy themselves.” 

At the same time though, students are apprehensive about the relocation to an outdoor field. “What happens if it rains?” asks senior Rebecca Brewer. “I don’t want to graduate in the halls of Pioneer, that’s lame.” She added.

Karibian is also less enthusiastic about the venue because it is a break from tradition. “Having the ceremony at Pioneer will be a little odd considering I was in the audience for my sister’s graduation at EMU and pictured myself graduating there.” He said.

Students also wish that the administration had tried harder to not divide the event into groups. “I feel that splitting graduation into halves diminishes the event. We all went through high school together and we deserve to end it as a unified group.” Brewer said.

Karibian echoed this sentiment saying, “I’m bummed I won’t be able to see some of my friends graduate.”

This graduation will be another in a long line of events that have not occurred the way that the class of 2021 pictured. Pioneer senior Lauren Woodside summed up the thoughts of many towards the graduation that is capping this pandemic-defined school year. “It’s a sad situation because it feels like both a hello and a goodbye.” She said.