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The original plan for this year's senior class was to hold graduation this Saturday, May 16, in Blackhawk Stadium. That is not happening.

With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, closing of schools in March and many social distancing regulations imposed statewide, the feasibility of a graduation ceremony for the 164 seniors of 2020 and their families dissipated into thin air. Many people have complained. One person on a social media post even stated that was the one thing the students had attended school for the past 12 years. I hope not.

School, whether public, private or home, is about education -- mental, emotional, relational. The many lessons acquired, friendships built, experiences lived compile to create a person who, hopefully, is prepared to transition into the adult world of both work and possibly continued education. These young men and women are learning who they are and preparing to make their mark on the world.

Pea Ridge school officials have gone above and beyond to create a quality virtual graduation. Whereas some schools are creating a slide show of seniors' photographs for the graduation event, Pea Ridge High School principal Charley Clark, along with his capable crew, are pre-recording every step of the graduation ceremony and video aficionado Mark Laster is spending hours editing those recordings to create a virtual ceremony of which they hope the parents and students will be proud.

So, seniors will walk across a stage next week in an almost empty gym. Their walk will be recorded. Speeches from the valedictorian and salutatorian will be recorded next week. Then, on Saturday, May 30, the video will be released.

So, instead of complaining about something we can't change, let's be grateful. There are people who aren't going to celebrate graduation in any format. (Consider parents whose teens have died this year or of those battling debilitating diseases.)

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Editor's note: Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County, chosen the best small weekly newspaper in Arkansas for five years. The opinions expressed are those of the author. She can be reached at [email protected]

Editorial on 05/13/2020

Print Headline: Gratitude beats complaining any day!

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