The 2021 graduation for Naples High seniors is one that will be remembered. These seniors will pick the mantle back up after graduations across the country were forfeited last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Friday’s ceremony, held on Staver Field, may not have been ideal as the Florida summer approaches, but many seniors agree that they are most excited that this year’s graduation will finally be held in person.
“I felt so bad for the seniors last year and that they had to have it virtually,” senior McKenna Seward said. “I’m so thankful that I’m able to have it [in person] with my classmates.”
Even though graduation is going to be in person, it is still going to be different in other ways.
“The only way that we can do it in person is to do it outside,” Athletic Director and Activities Coordinator Ernie Modugno said. “We have a set capacity in the stadium and we will social distance six feet between each party. It’s two tickets per graduate, and we’re hoping that will be increased to four tickets.”
As this year’s graduation faces some challenges, one change is that it is now going to be held outside.
“The last time that I can remember that graduation was outdoors was probably 1984 or 1985, so it’s been a very long time,” Modugno said. “But we used to have graduation outdoors all the time, there were evening graduations so we would not have to worry about those evening thunderstorms that we get here in southwest Florida. Now that we have an outdoor graduation, we’re still dealing with the pandemic.”
With the current circumstances of graduation, many seniors cannot contain their excitement for this event.
“I’m looking forward to receiving my diploma and going to college. I’ve been waiting for this day for the past 18 years and I can’t believe it’s finally here.”– senior Amanda Doino
However, with graduation also comes adulthood. Seniors are worried about what might be in store for them as they enter this new stage of life.
“Although graduation is exciting, I’m nervous for what the future is going to hold,” Seward said. “Our lives are going to change and it’s all happening so fast.”
With a sudden change in one’s life, the day of graduation will always be looked back upon with a positive light.