Celebrating a Milestone With a Mask


An unusual year to say the least…2020! The year itself sounded epic, to begin with, you know 2020 simply sounds fun. Fun isn’t what most graduates will say about their Senior Year. Back in August our daughter was elated this was the final year of High School. Actually, me too. I’ve been homeschooling for 30 years now and we were sure poised to celebrate! Celebrating our 4th high school graduate looked way different. All of our four children had a unique way of graduation. Being that homeschool mom, my husband and I didn’t pressure any of the kids to “walk” for graduation. But this last one wanted to with a passion. Then COVID-19.

Cancelations began to flood social media. Even their proms were canceled. No Senior prom. No graduation ceremonies. NO WAY! We’ve all had months to contemplate our lives on a new level. Homeschoolers finished as planned at home. However, the rest of the kids ended as a homeschooler, at home. The dynamics of schooling at home become complicated or comfortable. Hey, doing schoolwork in your PJ’s can be appealing to some folks. But then came reality. Schools out forever graduates!

Drive-by Grads, Zoom Grads, and even no celebration Grads became the historic class of 2020.

Hearts break like my friend Scott, “Am I the only parent that feels bummed out about not doing a major celebration with this COVID thing going on? My son graduated UCF and daughter finished 10th grade and is accepted to college duel enrollment. We are so proud of both of them and the COVID is peeing on the party. Reality kinda blows right now.”

Sorry parents. Sorry kids. And you sorry #@$%!^& COVID you will NOT steal our joy!

Creativity suddenly hit an all-time high!

Cheylene Gavilan –“You are a historic class that will be studied and written about for ages to come.”

That’s right my fellow homeschool mommy, Chey! Everyone in past years has a “graduation” but 2020 goes down into history! This 2020 graduating class, whether college or high school or tech school or whatever accomplishment was achieved is to be celebrated as historic! Think about it. Anyone can graduate, but you my friends of 2020, you have made history!

“Please mute yourself! It was repeated over and over until it became funny because this one parent had no clue. Oh and then they called them to mute right in the middle of the ceremony so we heard the whole thing, lol.” -Janette   

Oh yes, the Zoom life. Mute yourself is key to a successful call. If you’ve not Zoomed in 2020 you’ve not lived! From meetings to graduations and such our technology has given us at least a distant connection of face to face. And I agree, it’s not the same.

For our graduate, Abigail, we participated in a drive-through graduation parade with Dania Pointe Shopping Center and a walk across diploma ceremony at a church. As a homeschooler the class this year was 15 or so kids in our support group. It was a double ceremony, with masks and all. Quick photo ops and back with the mask.

I understand life is weird right now. But I hugged my sweet graduate and reassured her she’ll look back on this masked life and have stories no one else can match. Celebrating a milestone with a mask and despite the disappointment of many virtual ceremonies, the accomplishments are still valid. The tests were taken, the essays written the hours of lab work, and cramming for exams brought that graduation to completion. No, the parties won’t happen in person, yet. They will happen, soon.

For some graduates, the ability to escape the bitter ugliness of high school wasn’t even a plan for a party. We might forget those students who were simply happy to end that experience for good. Life went on as usual. The next chapter began without a bang. But the last chapter, over as it is, will not be filled with a hint of celebration, rather a thankful heart of never having to go back. Who wants to celebrate something that caused you pain? Heartache is exposed. We forget those “mean girl” experiences of teenage life. Graduation means different things to all graduates.

Be of good cheer my 2020 grads!

Anyone can walk across a stage and the day is over and the chapter ends and no one really remembers but you. Now the class of 2020 everyone will remember you because of your historic accomplishments. One of them is being the first and we hope the last, virtual graduation class.  Just like a big wedding, (I eloped) you have memories in a photo album (or social media cloud.) No one can take away your degree. You, 2020 graduate, have passed the test! You’ll now be able to close that chapter of your life and move on to the next adventure. And, isn’t adventure what life is all about anyway? Congratulations class of 2020! You made history; of which will be talked about for generations to come. This class has a digital life of historic proportions. Cell phones were not even invented when I graduated high school.

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Coach Deena has been teaching fitness since 1991 and currently is also a dance instructor at Starlight Theater Company. As a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she and her husband of thirty-two years are those extreme football fans you hear about. Boomer Sooner! Deena’s a brand-new grandmother and wait till you hear how this granny is taking life by the “horns down.” She’s a stay at home mom, who has homeschooled all four of their children. She’s excited to share her granny knowledge and teenage drama secrets to help you get through life. Deena McDaniel is the creator founder of Christmas Near The Beach, a premier Christmas show in Hollywood, Florida (Est. 2007). In 1996, Deena began writing her weekly column Positively Beautiful, which is published in a local Missouri paper and more recently in a blog form on Facebook. Her background includes TV commercial production, Evening News promotion and hosting her own radio request show, “Sunday Drive.” She has a passion for fitness. It has been a life long adventure, from bodybuilding to mime ministry you’ll see this mom of four teaching fitness of almost any style. She and her family are active members at Palm Vista Community Church in Miami Lakes, Florida. “Remember you’re never able to quit the job of motherhood, rather the dynamics keep changing and your employment is for life.”- Coach Deena


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