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Drive-in celebrations? Graduations in December? Virtual ceremonies? Plans for high school seniors unfold — but students are not happy
In lieu of traditional ceremonies with hundreds or thousands of graduates and family in attendance, high schools around Chicago are having to come up with other ideas to honor seniors this spring.
Some of the options principals are considering: Streaming ceremonies featuring home-made student videos. Inviting students and families to drive up to the school building, where the principal will hand them their diplomas. Or holding smaller ceremonies or events months after seniors finish school — even as late as December.
While many seniors say they aren’t huge fans of these ideas, which are a far cry from what they anticipated for years, they might not have a choice if Gov. J.B. Pritzker extends the stay-at-home order into the summer, or restricts large gatherings, as he has indicated.
But being left in the dark as schools consider options while awaiting final guidance from the state has also been frustrating to the seniors we spoke to, particularly CPS students that already endured a 12-day teachers strike last fall.
We’re making our vital coronavirus coverage free for all readers. See the latest news here.
Leah Aberman, 17, a senior at Lane Tech College Prep in Lake View, said the wait has been nerve-wracking.
“It really reminds me of the teachers strike,” she said. “It was hard to plan then, too, because we were just waiting for new [information] day-by-day.”
Twin sisters Megan and Emma Gallian, also seniors at Lane Tech, are frustrated by the lack of information and the possibility the pinnacle event of their high school careers will get short shrift. Both are pushing for the ceremony to be postponed long enough so it can be held in person, saying they have been looking forward to celebrating with family and friends for years.
“At Lane, everything is really rigorous,” Megan Gallian said. “When I was pulling all nighters … I had always looked forward to just having that moment at the end.”
And many agree: After months of remote learning online, a virtual event will not be the same.
“I’ve had plenty of Zoom calls and FaceTime,” said Brandon Jenkins, who also attends Lane Tech. Even in-person ceremonies with fewer students or relatives, said his brother, Bryce, who attends St. Ignatius College Prep, would be preferable: “We might not be able to see everyone, but at least we’d all be together. I think we all want that experience.”
Read the full story from Matthew Hendrickson, which includes more interviews with local graduating seniors.
More news you need
- Gov. J.B. Pritzker has extended the current stay-at-home executive order until the end of May. Pritzker, alongside some state researchers, outlined the numbers behind his decision to keep people home four more weeks.
- One day before the City Council is scheduled to consider granting Mayor Lori Lightfoot expanded spending and contracting authority for the duration of the public health crisis, a handful of aldermen accused the mayor of using the pandemic as an excuse to consolidate power.
- Former presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced that her oldest brother died earlier this week of the coronavirus. “He was charming and funny, a natural leader,” she wrote.
- Poland is sending a nine-member medical team to Chicago as the city battles COVID-19. The team is being provided by the Polish Ministry of National Defense and is expected to arrive this afternoon.
- Can’t get your favorite treat while staying home? Ikea, Disney Parks, Cheesecake Factory, McDonalds and several other restaurants are pulling back the curtain on some of their recipes, so people can make their iconic dishes themselves.
A bright one
Take your child to work day goes virtual in the age of coronavirus
Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day may seem like a lost cause in the age of the coronavirus, or fodder for satirical memes featuring kids interrupting work-from-home parents.
But many companies will be attempting to gin up the spirit of the occasion today by hosting video conferences for employees and their children to celebrate. The human resources folks at Nasdaq are tapping a group of employees and kids, including several from Chicago, for a teleconference call.
Hopefully kids get a sense of what their parents do, company spokeswoman Emily Pan said. “It’s kind of a vague concept to work at the stock exchange.“
Dominic Romito, 8, is definitely foggy on how his dad, Dan Romito, 39, spends the day in his basement office of their Mundelein home. (Dad works in business development for Nasdaq, normally at his office in the Loop).
“I have no idea what he does,” he said. His younger brother, Brayden, says “Dad plays with numbers all day.”
“This will be a nice little diversion, you can only play so many games of Battleship and Risk,” their dad joked.
Read the full story from Mitch Dudek.
From the press box
It’s NFL Draft day, but barring a trade the Bears will be on the sideline during Round 1 tonight. Our final mock draft has LSU quarterback Joe Burrow going to the Bengals with the first overall pick. Jason Lieser, Patrick Finley and Mark Potash break down the Bears’ needs position by position.
ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary about Michael Jordan and the 1990s Bulls dynasty has stirred many memories for broadcaster Neil Funk. Rick Telander and Richard Roeper will discuss the doc and what they remember of that era in the Sun-Times’ new Chicago Six-Times podcast.
Your daily question ☕
Today is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, so we want to know: How are you sharing your career with your kids during this unique time?
Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday was Earth Day, so we asked you to tell us about something you do that’s good for the planet. Here’s what some of you said…
“Aside from the usual recycling, I compost as much of our yard waste as possible as well as scraps from fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only does it reduce the amount of yard waste going to landfills, but I reuse it in planting as it contains a lot nutrients, which helps plant growth. Another benefit? It’s one less container to shlep to the curb.” — Stan Zoller
“Recycle, buy used items often instead of new, go on nature walks carrying a bag that I use to fill up with trash that I find along my walk. I do not use poison to kill weeds in my garden. I am a Vegan.” — Sharon Hunt Gonzales
“I’ve planted more than 20 trees in my yard over the past 10 years.” — Rose Panieri
“Walk to the store instead of driving.” — Mary Ann Wong
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