Rainier’s graduation and Prom changed dates

By Charlie Stattion

Staff Editor

Prom and senior graduation were already planned before the shelter-in-place and now, since Summit is following county guidelines, these celebrations will have to be arranged differently to follow those guidelines. Since the beginning of quarantine, Rainier has set teams to cover graduation and Prom logistics. Prom was rescheduled to Saturday, May 23, and graduation was moved out to Aug. 3 for in-person graduation. In June, seniors will instead have a luncheon brunch virtual call with their mentors so that mentees can say a few words for their mentors and vice versa. Then the mentees will present their gift for their mentors.

Given the circumstances of quarantine, 2020 seniors have been stripped of their graduation. With many high schools in confusion, they are finding different ways of having a graduation for their seniors, including having it done virtually from home. Concerns grow for the Class of 2020 as they aren’t sure if they will have graduation or not.

Amanda Florez, a senior at Summit Rainier, shared her concerns about her graduation: “I’m disappointed to not be able to celebrate my four years of hard work I put into my academic career, but I believe there is something to say for the people that are dying from COVID-19, and if we have the ability to save lives then we should.” 

Madelin Morales, a senior at Summit Rainier, said, “The biggest concern many others and myself have is that we won’t have a graduation ceremony at all. Even though we understand that the precautions being taken are in order to ensure safety, It’s disappointing because it’s that one moment every high schooler looks forward to “

When asked what feelings she has about the seniors’ graduation, Sunli Kim, a senior mentor and freshman English teacher responded with, “I’m obviously very sad. It’s a really heartfelt ceremony and a nice sense of closure and affirmation for a lot of our students who worked so hard.”

This year’s graduation was supposed to be held at the California Theater in downtown San Jose on June 1. Since the shelter in place, Summit has been carefully following the guidance from the county to keep its students safe, including having to postpone graduation and Prom.

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Edwin Avarca, Rainier’s executive director PHOTO CREDIT: Charlie Stattion

Edwin Avarca, Rainier’s executive director, said, “We are going to postpone the June first ceremony. We’re no longer going to have that graduation, given the guidance that we are getting from the state and the county … and the new date for in-person graduation is going to be for August third and that’s what we’re hoping for.” He also added that in place of the graduation on the week of June first, the seniors will have a luncheon brunch virtual call. The mentors and seniors will say a few words for each other and the seniors will present their senior gifts to their mentors.

Due to the shelter in place order, not only was graduation altered to suit county guidelines but so was Prom. The Prom team had been working on this for about three weeks, brainstorming what they could do about Prom. After receiving emails from the Prom team, they have finished planning and have decided on the Virtual Prom. 

Joana Padilla, a Ranier junior, shared her excitement and concerns about virtual Prom: “I’m kind of looking forward to Virtual Prom because it sounds cool and exciting, and I’m able to see a lot of my friends from other grades, like the seniors, but I’m also not looking forward to it because it’s kind of weird. It’s not a normal Prom, and that’s what sucks about it, but I understand the circumstances we are in, and we can’t really do much about it.”

Padilla also shared, “Other than that, it seems like a cool and exciting thing. I don’t know if I can attend since I share a room with family members and can’t do much with them around.”

Alex Bonnett, Rainier senior and activities director, said, “The goal is to have a Virtual Prom in place of Prom like we were supposed to have.” She included that prom will still hold royalty, senior royalty would be prom king and queen while junior royalty is prom prince and princess.

Bonnett added, “Other than the fact that it will be virtually, there shouldn’t be anything that is different from any other year of Prom. We’re hoping for a good turnout.”

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Isela Mosqueira, Spanish teacher and junior mentor PHOTO CREDIT: Charlie Stattion

Isela Mosqueira, a Spanish teacher and junior mentor who is in charge of Virtual Prom, explained, “Virtual Prom will be one hour, from 6-7 p.m. on Saturday, May 23. Students are encouraged to dress up in any formal or silly attire as they wish! I’m busting out my bow tie … Students can fill out Prom Royalty nominations starting May 15 until Friday, May 22. Our DJ will play music in increments of 15-20 minutes throughout the hour. We will be raffling off restaurant gift cards for all attendees.”

Ms. Mosqueira also added, “A staff member will be taking screenshots of students periodically for their “Prom photo” which will go on a collage with a “Prom background” later. Students will be able to vote for their Prom King and Queen and Prince and Princess during the first 40 minutes of Prom, and then royalty will be announced the last 15 minutes! Ms. Lupe will deliver crowns/tiaras and sashes to royalty in the days after Prom and have them pose for a picture.”

FEATURED IMAGE (at top of post): Summit Rainier’s Class of 2019 graduates at the California theater.

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