Virtual graduation? Student petition says ‘No way’

Apr 15, 2020, 12:49 PM | Updated: May 14, 2020, 9:32 am
Graduate Chair Hensen saud it took some math to figure it out: Giving 480 seniors enough time to walk across the stages utilizing Cyprus' two campuses. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — High school seniors all over Utah are facing a harsh reality–no more school. No more precious time to spend with friends. And maybe, a virtual graduation ceremony taking the place of the typical pomp and circumstance.

No school, no sports

It all comes after Governor Gary Herbert ordered schools closed for the remainder of the academic year. Additionally, all spring sports are officially shut down.

Nonetheless, some students are pushing back. Cyprus High School’s Student Body Secretary Chloe Koehler is leading the “anti-virtual graduation” movement. Her petition is asking for safe, in-person graduation ceremonies.

It reads in part: “As we move forward, we are hopeful that the pandemic will ease enough for us to have at least one experience we’ve looked forward to most of our lives…an in-person graduation ceremony.”

Grassroots graduation movement

According to Koehler, she started the petition just to see how many other students shared her same feelings.

“Our main idea with writing the petition was to see how many other seniors felt like we did,” she explained. “With wanting to have an actual special ceremony, rather than just reverting to a virtual one.”

In no time, the movement exploded and is continuing to generate interest.

“Obviously, there’s a lot more than I thought there would be at this time,” she said. “By the end of the first night, I think there was 1,500 signatures. I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition has over 7,000 signatures. That’s only a few hundred away from their overall goal.

“I think that we should take it to the state school board once we get to our goal of 7,500,” said Koehler.

Instead of a virtual ceremony, they feel a few other options are available. One is simply waiting to see if restrictions pertaining to the coronavirus outbreak start to loosen over time.

“I think that waiting for the summer is totally feasible,” she believes.

Another option could be holding an in-person ceremony at the high school, but with fewer guests.

Whatever the answer is, Koehler and thousands of other seniors across the state, are hoping to hold onto this one tradition before they transition into a world filled with so much uncertainty.

Today’s Top Stories


Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. Photo credit: Uta...
Devin Oldroyd

Hogle Zoo welcomes new Red Panda in effort to conserve the species

Utah's Hogle Zoo welcomes a new red panda, Priya, to its Asian Highlands exhibit. It hopes to breed her with Mow Mow, a red panda currently living there.
5 days ago
USU Aviation The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) created a series of r...
Michele Rowe

Flight instructor, student, die in crash of USU Aviation plane

Officials said a teacher and student affiliated with USU aviation were killed in a plane crash near Wellsville.
11 days ago
USU Aviation The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) created a series of r...
Waverly Golden

Utah State University reports on Latina women’s status in Utah

The Utah State University Utah Women & Leadership Project researched disparities between Latina Women and all women in Utah.
19 days ago
Utah Valley University March 23, 2020.  (Gabriel Mayberry/ UVU Marketing)...
Martha Harris

Utah adults struggling in their civics knowledge, a UVU study said

Utah adults get an almost failing grade in their civics knowledge, according to a study from Utah Valley University.
27 days ago
The Utah State Board of Education building. Utah schools give out a risk prevention survey every tw...
Aimee Cobabe

Utah State Board of Education drops support for risk prevention survey

Utah schools have given kids a health and risk prevention survey since 2003, but the State Board of Education recently pulled its support for the survey.
27 days ago
utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Virtual graduation? Student petition says ‘No way’