A Virtual Graduation by Maya Vereen

Graduation: four years of hard work for the opportunity to walk across the stage in front of family and friends to receive your diploma. The class of 2020 might not have had the graduation they had dreamed of, but nevertheless, it was a great ceremony that showcased OM pride and student accomplishments.

This year’s graduation was full of powerful messages and great performances by everyone involved. It started off with a few words from Roshnee Roberts and Sarah Taylor reflecting on their time at OM.  Then the song “For Good” from the Broadway musical “Wicked” was performed by Alexandra Hopkins and Faith Highland. While the duo sang, artwork from OM seniors was showcased. The next message from David Land who introduced the keynote speaker, Kiana Macharia who reminisced about her memories from all of her years of school and her dreams of her graduation moment. Next, Haley Barham announced the virtual guests including the senior class “teacher of the year,” Mrs. Ashley Bailer. Introduced by Ming Nelson, the next special guest was from the OM class of 85’ and now current astronaut, Col.Terry Virts, who left the class of 2020 with two important messages. First, he advised “don’t tell yourself no,” saying that everyone has dreams about what they want to be and that you need to push yourself and keep fighting for your goals. Col. Virts’ second piece of advice was that no one is going to do the work for you, so you need to work hard for everything since there are no handouts. These aren’t messages that only the class of 2020 can take in; the message was valuable to anyone that was watching. 

If you watched or attended last year’s graduation ceremony, then you would know about the unexpected but entertaining performances by OM’s own administrative team. Many people wondered how the administrators could top or even come close to last year’s performance, especially since this graduation was online. But the virtual performance made up for any doubts as Mr. Wallace rapped to the instrumental “We Will Rock You” while Dr. Fink played the guitar. The next song was performed by Mr. Fleming, Mrs. Reid, and Ms. Hoffen, who all sang “Lean On Me” while many other staff members joined in with guitars. The performance then transitioned into the final song, “See You Again.” While the songs were playing, many pictures of the seniors popped up showing memories from the past four years at Oakland Mills. 

After the musical performance was the moment everyone was waiting for: the reading of the graduates’ names. Although it was not the traditional walking across the stage, shaking the hands of the administrators, and receiving the diploma, it was actually cool to see some people’s creative style in the personal videoes that were made by each student. Then, to end the surprisingly good ceremony, was “One Last Dance” featuring the dancers from the class of 2020.

Many know that this wasn’t the graduation that many members of the class of 2020 expected – whether that was here at OM or across the world – but there were many positives to take away. There was a creative, personal aspect to the virtual ceremony that many don’t get to see at a “normal” graduation. 

With the ceremony over, the seniors’ time at Oakland Mills has come to an end; although as we say here at OM, it is still their “hOMe.” The class of 2020 will now embark on a new journey to whatever their futures hold; but, forever in their hearts, they will know that Oakland Mills is “hOMe” and that we are always “Strongest Together.” You can watch the virtual graduation ceremony here:https://www.hcpss.org/commencements/omhs/.

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