With summer upon us and COVID-19 cases on an encouraging decline, many of us are starting to relax for the first time in what feels like forever.
However, the stresses of pandemic life certainly have not yet subsided for area high schoolers. For 2021 graduating seniors as well as the teachers, staff, and parents that make up their community, the coming ceremonies are the finish line for lots of hard work.
“I feel hopeful,” said Herndon High School’s Principal Liz Noto, “and maybe relieved that things have loosened up right now because we’re finally able to offer our students a real graduation this year.”
Herndon’s 2020 graduation ceremony, like so many others in the area, was hardly normal. And, while this year things are certainly more relaxed, the traditional Eagle Bank Arena event would still be impossible, as it is still being used as a vaccination center.
The planning and preparations necessary for the augmented event are ongoing and subject to change by the day, but concert venue Jiffy Lube Live is going to host the Herndon High community, just as it has for several high schools in the area.
For Principal Noto, though, the venue is hardly the most encouraging thing on the horizon.
“I didn’t know how much it was impacting me personally,” said Principal Noto, “but our chorus did an outdoor concert in town this week called Broadway Under the Stars”.
“There was just something about seeing them perform,” continued Principal Noto, “and at the end of the performance my [chorus] teacher said ‘Can you guys believe that these students have been singing on mute for the last year and a half?’ and it just totally brought a tear to my eye.”.
While Herndon’s 2021 graduating class won’t be performing at Jiffy Lube this year, they’ll surely be gaining an unforgettable experience that people like Principal Noto are so eager to provide.
“I’m so thankful that these kids are going to get something more normal right now, after all this,” said Noto, “this is an event they’ve been working towards for 13 years, you know? So, let’s do it!”