The class of social-distancing


Graduates experience limited graduation

By Darian Gillette - For The Portsmouth Daily Times



Lainey Ayers poses with her diploma at Portsmouth West High School graduation in West Portsmouth May 20. Photo submitted by Lainey Ayers

Lainey Ayers poses with her diploma at Portsmouth West High School graduation in West Portsmouth May 20. Photo submitted by Lainey Ayers


submitted photo

Makenzie Eldridge poses in her cap and gown at Minford High School May 20 in Minford, Oh. Photo submitted by Makenzie Eldridge


submitted photo

Although seniors were glad to still get to have a ceremony, the restrictions made graduating a little more stressful for some.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines, schools had to come up with alternative graduation plans to honor their students.

“We were only allowed to have four people attend,” said Portsmouth West High School Graduate Lainey Ayers. “Otherwise, I would have had 10 or 15 people attend.”

During the altered graduation at Portsmouth West, graduates stood outside until it was their turn. Student’s names were called, where they would grab their diploma, and were asked to leave.

“Each student at my school was supposed to receive five minutes for their graduation, but I have video proof that my graduation only lasted a mere 22 seconds,” said Ayers.

Ayers feels that Portsmouth West handled their graduation very poorly by not keeping families and students socially distanced while waiting outside.

The ceremony also felt very rushed for Ayers.

“As soon as you received your diploma, you were told to exit,” said Ayers. “I missed the chance for my whole family to be there, to be recognized for my achievements and scholarships, and getting to see some of my friends possibly for the last time.”

Senior Makenzie Eldridge from Minford High School is trying to stay positive while waiting for her graduation this coming Sunday.

“I feel like they are handling the best they possibly can under the circumstances, but I do hate that we are going through this,” said Eldridge.

Minford High School is also only allowing four people to attend for each student and giving each student five minutes.

“Everyone says don’t worry graduation was long and hot, you are not missing out, but I wish I was sitting in those seats dying from the heat and complaining with my best friends about when it was going to be over,” said Eldridge. “We had no ending, no goodbye.”

Eldridge said the support of her family and seeing how much the community actually cared about the Class of 2020 kept her positive.

With many graduations still to come, Ayers shares some advice for the upcoming graduates in the area.

“Absorb every single second of your opportunity to graduate because it’s over in literally a few seconds,” said Ayers.

More schools will be performing limited graduations this weekend including, Clay, Minford, Northwest and Wheelersburg.

Lainey Ayers poses with her diploma at Portsmouth West High School graduation in West Portsmouth May 20. Photo submitted by Lainey Ayers
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2020/05/web1_grad.jpgLainey Ayers poses with her diploma at Portsmouth West High School graduation in West Portsmouth May 20. Photo submitted by Lainey Ayers submitted photo

Makenzie Eldridge poses in her cap and gown at Minford High School May 20 in Minford, Oh. Photo submitted by Makenzie Eldridge
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2020/05/web1_senior-1-.jpgMakenzie Eldridge poses in her cap and gown at Minford High School May 20 in Minford, Oh. Photo submitted by Makenzie Eldridge submitted photo
Graduates experience limited graduation

By Darian Gillette

For The Portsmouth Daily Times