Keeping traditions alive: Senior class launches virtual decision day

Anna Cornell '20, Staff Writer

Graphic by Anna Cornell ’20

May 1 is a day seniors eagerly await. To others, it’s just an ordinary day, but for the graduating class of 2020, this is the day where they discover their classmates’ plans for the next chapter of their lives.
Due to the global pandemic and the shelter-in-place order, students are not able to follow tradition by wearing their college shirts to school. However, according to Class of 2020 secretary Shannon Kerr ’20, to combat this misfortune, the executive board of Student Association (SA) and the Class of 2020 student council have been collaborating to continue celebrating the graduating class.
“We wanted to have a way to commemorate all the seniors and all their hard work, especially with these difficult times,” Kerr said. “We still wanted to have a way to remember our seniors and their legacies.”
When it became clear that heading back to school in May was not going to happen, senior class vice president Andrew Fleming ’20 said the two executive boards began communicating through weekly Zoom calls to pool their resources together with the goal of salvaging some of the festivities of graduating.
“We knew that we wanted to try and give seniors the experiences that we had been promised over the last couple years, especially seeing others classes do things like Decision Day,” Fleming said. “We went through a couple options of how we could do it, but we decided making a Facebook group with just the students was kind of the best way to do it.”
To spread the word about the new format for decision day, SA treasurer Peter Costello ’20 said they are posting on their Instagram, texting fellow seniors and hoping that others who are added to the Facebook group will invite others to join.
“We thought (virtual Decision Day) would be fun to have it be more centralized, because that’s how Decision Day was going to be like at school when we all wore our shirts,” Costello said. “We thought it would be kind of fun to have everybody in one place and be able to go to that group and not only post their own, but be able to see everybody else’s decision at the same time.”
The plan for May 1, as of right now, is to have everyone upload their commitment photo to the GPS Class of 2020 Student Group on Facebook, while wearing their school swag to mirror what would have been done at school, Fleming said.
“The group’s going to be open all summer and people can upload whenever they make their decisions or whenever they become available,” Fleming said. “So, throughout the month of May or June, whenever it happens, everyone is free to upload their photos.”
In addition to the Facebook group, TV Production teacher Steve Geresy sent out a link to a Google Form that all seniors are encouraged to fill out, Kerr said. She said the form asks seniors to state where they are planning to attend next and then attach a video of them wearing their merch declaring where they are going.
“We are trying to get all the seniors to participate,” Kerr said. “We (hope) to get a post for every senior so that you can just scroll through everyone’s decisions and see everyone wearing their different shirts.”
Fleming said the virtual Decision Day is an attempt to maintain some sense of normalcy and restore some of the social interaction with their classmates.
“The things I’m most excited about are to see where people are going the next couple of years, supporting everybody and seeing everyone’s faces again,” Fleming said. “It’s been a long time without seeing each other in school, so I think this is going to be a great way for us to stay connected and stay present in each other’s lives as everything is so uncertain.”