As social distancing continues amid the coronavirus pandemic, high school seniors across the country are missing out on year-end rituals like prom, graduation and signing yearbooks. But the class of 2020 isn't letting quarantine get them down... they are continuing to get creative and make the best of the situation!
We've already seen virtual proms and graduation parades go viral, and now, hundreds of yearbook accounts are starting to pop up on Instagram. It's a way for seniors to feel connected to their classmates at this time, still giving them the chance to share their favorite high school memories and celebrate each other’s achievements.
Many administrators of the various accounts are asking their classmates to send in baby photos, quotes, or pics of themselves rocking gear from the colleges and universities they will be attending in the fall. Others are sharing senior class portraits, with information about each student in the caption. Everyone is encouraged to "sign" that person's "yearbook" by leaving a comment, sharing a memory or words of encouragement.
"We’re disappointed to not have the opportunity to celebrate in person, but I think like a lot of kids, we’re glad we have social media to be able to connect with everyone virtually," 18-year-old Matt Beiger, who created the Dunwoody High School yearbook account, told The New York Times. "These accounts are something a lot of schools have done. Every high school I know is starting to use a page like this to celebrate their senior class. I’ve seen it across the country.”
“We’re taking advantage of social media to make up for the fact that we’re missing out on so much face to face,” Beiger's classmate, 17-year-old Molly Clinch, added. “Although we can’t all get together and celebrate graduation, having us all on a page together makes us feel like a community.”
Ariana Mendoza, an 18-year-old senior from Conestoga High School, told the outlet that she has been asking for submissions via the school’s online learning platform, so that even students without Instagram accounts can participate.
"Some people share their favorite high school memory, some write advice for younger classmen, some people give a quote or something funny," she said. "We’re not in school, and we’re not sure when we’re going to receive our physical yearbook. Having this virtual platform where students can connect with each other and comment on each other's posts creates a positive environment where we can celebrate each other's successes and see where everyone’s future is headed."
“Our last day of school was just a random Thursday,” she continued. “[We] never said goodbye to our friends or teachers who we might never see again. This account gives us an environment where we can support each other.”
Additionally, John Krasinski will be honoring 2020 graduates with a virtual celebration on his Some Good News show on Sunday. The former Office star has been asking valedictorians to send in videos of themselves delivering their speeches, suggesting that he'll play one or more of them during the show.
"Alright, that’s it, enough is enough. All you graduates of 2020? After all those long hours you’ve put in. All the hard work you’ve put in.... we’re throwin some caps!!!" he wrote on Instagram, teasing the special. "This week! Im there with tassels on! #SGNgraduation!!!"
Congrats to the class of 2020!
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We are so very excited to congratulate @zoe.gordonn on her commitment to Lafayette College!!! This amazing girl is set for big things as she takes on Easton, PA to study psychology 🧠, and we couldn’t be more proud 🙌🏾. We know that your great compassion and empathy are going to make you thrive in this field. Thank you Zoe for bringing your humor🗣, love❤️, and supreme knowledge ✍️ to this class of 2020 because we are all better for it :) We truly can’t imagine anyone who is better suited for the ‘Most likely to become a reality tv star 👩🏾🎤’ superlative. Your presence will be missed dearly from Packer Arts 🎭 department, from the Pratt stage to the chapel risers, and we know that you are bound for success and hope to see you continue singing and dancing in PA. Congratulations Zoe, you’re incredible! Roll Pards ❤️🐆
Have you heard an uplifting story that brought you joy amid the coronavirus pandemic? I'd love to hear it! Share it with me on Twitter (@desireemurphy_), and for more heartwarming moments like this one, visit our Good News section for daily inspiration.