Graduation season is usually a time for seniors and their families to celebrate and participate in long-awaited traditions. However, due to COVID-19, many students are turning to different ways to celebrate their achievements. 

Every year, seniors take portraits in commencement caps and gowns to show off their accomplishments. However, with no commencement and delayed cap and gown deliveries, some students are looking for alternative ways to join in on the tradition. Business senior Lilly Kane-Dacri said she attempted to pick up some attire, and even looked through Cal Poly’s Parent Facebook Page, but was unable to find a cap and gown for her photos. 

“I only got the sash, instead of like everything. So, I just took pictures without the cap and gown,” Kane-Dacri said. 

With social distancing guidelines still in place, Cal Poly has postponed the in-person commencement for spring 2020. Animal science senior Maisie Thomas said her parents are arranging other ways so she can celebrate with her family. 

“My parents knew I was super disappointed about not having a ceremony, and that I had been looking forward to that a ton,” Thomas said. 

YouTube video
Video by Lauren Brown

Thomas’ parents surprised her with a large Cal Poly flag for their flagpole and graduation signs to put outside their house. Additionally, Thomas’ mother is planning an interactive “Who Knows the Graduate Best” quiz for friends and families to participate in who were unable to celebrate with the graduate.

“It will be fun for me to get the responses, and it will be fun for them to fill that out amongst themselves, since we can’t all get together,” Thomas said.

Other senior parents, who wanted to remain anonymous to not spoil the surprise, are planning surprise videos and graduation gift boxes for their graduates. 

While students have been able to find alternatives, some say that the substitutes are not the same as regular graduation traditions. 

“I’ll probably just have a small dinner with my family,” Kane-Dacri said. “Which I’m pretty disappointed about because I wanted to celebrate it. And I’m also graduating in three years, so I was trying to be very excited and pumped about it. But due to the situation, obviously I can’t be as excited.” 

While Thomas was disappointed about not getting to share this moment with her family, she said that she has gotten many responses about her flags and posters. 

“Somebody saw [the poster] in my grandma’s front yard and left an anonymous graduation card for the graduate on her porch,” said Thomas.

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