It’s graduation week for area high school seniors. Unfortunately the Williamsburg James City County School Board decided to opt for a drive through graduation ceremony instead of waiting to schedule a full traditional ceremony in August.
Even the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has said that New York city schools will be able to have in person graduation ceremonies of at least 150 students per event by the end of the Summer, so what gives with our local school board? In a word . . . apathy, defined as “a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, or concern about something.”
A local high school student started a petition through change.org to have a full, traditional ceremony and received 536 signatures. But the desire of students and parents fell on deaf ears as the WJCC School Board opted for a strict, staggered drive through graduation of no more than six students at a time. Here are instructions for graduates:
Busch Gardens Graduation Information
Each graduate is permitted one car.
Graduates and families must arrive in the same vehicle. There is no limit on the number of people in the vehicle; however, every passenger must be wearing a seatbelt. Appropriate child safety seats or restraint devices must be used for passengers ages 7 and under for vehicles entering the event.
No limos, large vans, guests in truck beds, etc. will be allowed.
Graduates will be verified at the toll booth prior to car entrance to Busch Gardens.
Graduates must be in appropriate graduation attire. Mortarboards may not be decorated.
Cars will arrive at Busch Gardens at the designated times.
Saturday, June 13, 2020
9:00 Jamestown High School Graduation
Wave 1: 112 A–Harb, arrival begins at 8:30
Wave 2: 112 Hard–Oe; arrival begins at 10:00
Wave 3: 113 Og–Z; arrival begins at 11:30
Cars will line up in the order in which they arrive.
Graduates and guests are to remain in their cars at all times.
Cars will be directed to the stage area by parking staff.
Once the car procession begins, drivers and passengers should refrain from honking horns, using noisemakers or making loud noises so as to not disrupt the diploma ceremony.
Upon arriving in the stage area, students will be directed to exit the car to line up for the stage.
All guests must remain in the vehicle at all times.
Students will put the name card provided on the table and go up the ramp. When their name is called the student will cross the stage, receive diploma from the table, move to the marker on stage, move their tassel and pose for a picture, then exit the stage.
While in the stage area the car will be directed by division staff when to move.
Diploma distribution will be continuous. Cars are asked to not honk as they move through the stage area and past the park exit.
Once the student has crossed the stage and re-entered the car, the car will exit the parking lot and proceed to the park exit.
Sounds like fun doesn’t it? It’s a major disappointment for students and parents who have invested 13 years in the WJCC school system and an embarrassment to administrators. No limos or large vehicles, no noisemakers, no decorating caps, no seeing other students. Drive up, exit your vehicle, take a picture, and move along. This is no better than a virtual celebration yet administrators are patting themselves on the back for coming up with such a grand solution.
Fear of coronavirus has kept people inside their homes for months. But a cursory look at the data and you realize that absolutely zero people in Virginia ages 0-19 have died from coronavirus. Asymptomatic spread of the virus has been recently debunked by the World Health Organization. Having a traditional ceremony where the students all could have gathered in an outdoor setting was achievable, yet the school board took the easy way out.
What this means to you
Your voice was not heard. Your school board representatives didn’t do their job and didn’t act on behalf of parents and students within Williamsburg James City County.
What you can do
Remember this the next time your school board representative comes up for re-election. Vote them out of office.