Northshore School District to hold virtual graduations for Class of 2020

BOTHELL, Wash. -- Graduation will look different for high school seniors at Northshore School District. Instead of the usual walk across the stage and getting handed a diploma, the class of 2020 will experience commencement virtually.

Three seniors at North Creek High School in Bothell say they were crushed when they got the news Monday.

"In my opinion it's not even close to an actual graduation. It would feel like the year was unfinished, you won't get that walk or handed the diploma," said Brandi White.

Nina Dubrole added, "the thought of not even having my family get that video or chance to see me walk up on that stage and cross it and get handed my diploma, it's just very sad for me to think about."

A virtual graduation is especially heartbreaking for graduating senior Alex Taylor, who's accomplishment is a first in her family.

"For me, I'm the first child to graduate in my family. I have a younger brother who's just starting at North Creek this year as a freshman, so I wanted to give him something to look forward to and to see a graduation that he could have for himself," said Taylor.

Northshore School District says virtual graduations for its 7 high schools will be on the original dates and times, minus the venue. The seniors say the virtual experience was just one of the other options, such as postponing graduation or having a parade where the graduating class can drive up to receive their diplomas. Ultimately, the school district says a committee made up of students, staff, and administrators from all high schools met to come up with the decision.

In a letter to students and parents, Superintendent Michelle Reid said, "I know how important this time is and the significance graduation merits. I also acknowledge this has not been the senior year that you’ve been looking forward to in so many ways both large and small. I thank you for your sacrifice, resilience, and continued optimism in the face of unprecedented adversity; it matters."

The seniors say they understand the circumstances, but can't help feeling disappointed as they get ready for the next chapter in their lives.

"It makes me sad going into college and I didn't get that graduation. You work so hard, then you get to go to graduation, and then you're ready for that next step. Kind of like you're walking into the next step of your life and we don't really get that now," said White.

The school district is working with the high schools to determine the best way for cap and gown pickup and possibly a photo. Also, schools may plan an activity or event of their choosing to celebrate seniors if and when it is safe to do so.