PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — This graduation season, students everywhere are preparing for virtual commencements, but some are pressing for the real thing, saying there’s really no substitute.
Karissa Rosen, 22, was looking forward to the pomp and circumstance of a college graduation.
She’s the first in her family to achieve the milestone — which is why it was so devastating to receive a message from Bergen Community College announcing a virtual commencement.
“We’re supposed to graduate at the MetLife Stadium, Giants’ stadium, you know, 50-yard line, and now, we’re, now there’s a slideshow, you know, kind of like a PowerPoint. So, I feel cheated,” Rosen told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
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Since the coronavirus broke out, schools across the country have cancelled ceremonies, replacing them with virtual celebrations to the dismay of students.
High school seniors, like Emily Luo of West Windsor, say students who put in years of hard work together deserve a proper send-off, even if it has to be delayed.
“It’s hard to feel like you’re really saying goodbye or you’re really having a nice closure when it never felt like you were truly there,” she said.
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Petitions to postpone graduations are trending all over the country.
On Change.org alone, there are over 500 with hundreds of thousands of signatures.
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In some cases, efforts have been successful.
Wioletta Bodziony says her commencement at LIM College is now rescheduled for September.
“I sent out an email saying, I respect and you know, I love the school and thank you so much for giving me everything for four years, but this is just something that I believe we deserve because we worked so hard for it,” she said.
Rosen, who started her own petition, is also hoping for the same outcome.
“I feel that, you know, my graduating class, including myself, we are robbed of those memories that every other class was able to, you know, enjoy,” she said.
A tradition they say is worth the wait.