Today was my daughter's final Zoom call with her teachers where they handed out virtual awards to the students that earned them. Calleigh, my daughter, received the "Most Caring" award. It was a bittersweet morning. Calleigh was obviously sad and for good reason. Emily, my wife, and I were discussing this just the other day; from day one, when Covid-19 turned everyone's lives upside down during spring break, it has been right at the same amount of time as summer break is, typically. Our children have missed the entire last quarter of school, which means they haven't seen their friends or teachers in that long. Her 10-year-old little heart broke knowing that not only did she miss out on much of 4th grade, but she missed out on seeing her friends and much of her family for the same amount of time. She's been dying to get out of the house to see everyone. To top it off, many of her friends didn't participate in the virtual school sessions during all of this time, so she didn't get to see them online either.
My hat's off to the teachers and parents out there that have been forced into this new normal. Whether it is temporary for some or permanent for others, homeschooling is certainly not for everyone and I admire those that have done such a good job with their own kiddos. Nevertheless, good at it or not, it's almost coming to an end, and with the social distancing protocols in place, a lot of the students will still likely not see their friends during the actual summer break that is upon us.
Of course, there are many more serious issues to be concerned about through all of this than our children not being able to see their friends. I recognize that. However, this post today is focused on graduation. The other topics are a whole different story on another blog post.
Graduation is a ceremony that many are missing out on this year. Thankfully, many schools are holding their formal graduation ceremonies at a later date and not canceling them altogether. Our school, in particular, will be holding graduation ceremonies in June or July, with social distancing practices and minimal attendance regulations in place, of course. This week alone we have been asked to participate in two fifth grade drive through graduation ceremonies and last week we helped with a kindergarten drive through graduation ceremony.
It's things like these that remind us why we do what we do.
We love getting to put smiles on the faces of everyone involved in a celebration when they see a unique display of balloons welcoming them to the party. The smiles are what keep us coming back time and time again to create a festive environment!
In the next week or two we will be building a large balloon display for our local community as a backdrop for photos to honor the graduates of 2020; whether that be high school or college graduates, or kinder, 5th, or 8th-grade graduates moving on to the next phase of their grade school lives. Of course, everyone in between is welcome to drop in for a photo as well.
It's been a rough year for most. Tensions have been high. Schedules have been uprooted. Patience has been worn thin. We need something fun and lighthearted to soften the mood. Balloons are great for that! We hope that our balloon display will serve as a way for some to get into a festive spirit as we usher in the true summer vacation from school.
Keep your head held high. We may handle things differently but we are all in this together and we will make it out together.