Graduation returns to ‘normal’

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Jennifer Kwon, Copy Editor

For the past two years, the SIS administration has made many adjustments to meet COVID-19 protocols for the graduation ceremony. However, with the government loosening many of its policies, it looks as if the Class of 2022 will have a relatively normal graduation. 

On May 20, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., 93 students will receive their diploma. Though the total graduating class is 96 students, three have already graduated—with one studying in Australia and two already in Japan. 

Though masks are still required throughout the majority of the graduation process, seniors can take their masks off when walking up the stage to receive their diplomas. Ambassadors are also able to sing the Graduation Medley—remix of Charlie Puth’s See You Again”—without masks. Because masks have prevented the choral group from singing at a loud volume, this new alteration helps parents—who are sitting at the opposite side of the field—clearly hear the song. 

In addition, SIS administrators have allowed seniors to invite up to seven underclassmen, most of whom are juniors. This is a substantial change compared to last year’s guidelines when no more than two immediate family members were able to attend. 

“During the past week, I have been giving out cards to all of my closest friends in junior year,” Christine Yu (12), soon-to-be graduating senior, said. “Part of the ceremony is being able to say your last farewells to underclassmen, and I am grateful that all of them are willing to celebrate graduation with me.” 

The seating chart will also be modified. For the past two years, the graduating students were seated with their backs facing the field, spreaded out in a thin horizontal line. This made the conferral of diploma a relatively time-consuming process, for it took each student a while to come up to the stage. Still, this was the only seating chart that abided by COVID-19 regulations. However, by going back to the original seating plan—where seniors will be aligned in vertical and horizontal rows with their backs facing the scoreboard—the procedure will be shortened.

The ceremony will also include two sophomore MCs: John Kim (10), and Cherlin Kim (10), both of whom belong to the Tigers On Air club. They will welcome guests by introducing the program and delivering a farewell speech for Michael Colaianni.

Seniors and SIS faculty members will also present speeches. The first to speak will be Jim Gerhard, HS principal, with an invocation. This is followed by a speech from salutatorian Christine Yi (12) and valedictorian Jason Park (12). 

“I found out that I was going to be giving a speech at the start of second semester,” Jason Park (12), valedictorian, said. “I started drafting for my speech since then, but I don’t know if what I present will live up to everyone’s expectations. I think that is why I am pretty nervous for this Friday.” 

Regarding the benediction, it has changed for past couple graduating classes. It used to be either Gray Macklin, Mr. Gerhard, or the HSSC president. However, this year, it is going to be different. 

“The benediction will remain a surprise,” Dr. Gerhard said. “You will have to see who the closing speaker is for the Class of 2022.”