As Sewanhaka Central High School District officials are mulling their options for graduation ceremonies this year, a group of H. Frank Carey parents and students are making it known that they would like to have a live ceremony instead of a virtual one.
“These kids want to walk up to the stage, get their diplomas and have their families see that,” said Gabi Stolz, whose daughter is in the graduating class.
She created an online petition on May 19 asking the Sewanhaka administration to hold a real, live graduation ceremony, like it has in years passed. The ceremonies are usually held at the end of June at Hofstra University.
“Give our seniors what they deserve,” the petition reads. “Let them say goodbye to their school.”
Within a day, it had more than 800 signatures, with Jessica Piork writing, “My son, along with his fellow classmates deserve to graduate together, and I feel this could be done safely, so they don’t lose out on their once-in-a-lifetime moment.”
Sheila Scagnelli also responded that “if we can shop and go to the beach, these kids can have a graduation ceremony,” and Deborah Talbot said she suspected there is enough room on the school’s fields for the 250 graduating seniors to maintain social distancing. If not, she suggested they hold a ceremony at Nassau Colliseum’s parking lot, noting that a school in Philadelphia, P.a. is using a casino parking lot for its graduation.
And even the United States Military Academy is holding a live graduation ceremony with President Donald Trump in attendance, Jill Romano, another mother of a graduating senior, said. “If that could happen, why can’t this happen?” she asked, rhetorically.
She said she and Stolz know enough parents who would be willing to volunteer to make a graduation ceremony adhering to all the regulations Gov. Andrew Cuomo has implemented happen.
“We just want our kids to get what they deserve,” Romano explained, noting that the children left school in March without an opportunity to say goodbye to their friends and teachers.
Sewanhaka officials are expected to make a decision about graduations over the next few weeks, but Stolz and Romano said they are already prepared to fight for their kids, with Stolz noting that the entire Franklin Square community is “behind us.”
To sign the petition, visit https://bit.ly/3cKI1b3.