HAMPTON, Va. – High school graduation is one of the most cherished times in a student's life, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made the traditional ceremonies unsafe.
“One of the biggest things you look forward to in life is graduation,” said Shant’a Miller, founder of Parents Against Bullying Virginia based in Hampton.
Miller is teaming up with other nonprofit founders in the country to host a virtual graduation ceremony on Facebook Live in June.
“I want them to have hope. I want them to continue to believe,” said Kimberly Griffin, founder of Virginia Beach-based Support Joey’s Heart. “These children need to have some appreciation and be acknowledged for everything that they achieved.”
Miller and Griffin are partnering up with Pamela Hayes-Liggins of New York, founder of A Book and a Dream, and South Carolina-based nonprofit African American Literacy Awareness Campaign, created by Angela Thomas Smith, to create the online graduation experience.
“I don’t want to see [the seniors] depressed,” said Hayes-Liggins. “We want them to be happy.”
The four women said students across the country can visit the 2020 Virtual Graduation Facebook page to apply. They are requiring an essay and video message touting accomplishments from high school.
The group will select 50 winners and host online graduations, featuring performances from the students and a senior slideshow.
One student will also be awarded $500.
“I want them to know that they’re all successful and smart, terrific and talented, amazing and awesome,” said Miller. “I want them to all know they’re all winners.”
The deadline to apply is May 16. The graduations will be held on Facebook Live in June. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.