Taylor Glatt

Taylor Glatt

I have spent an amazing four years at Burlingame High School. I’ve struggled, I’ve learned, and I’ve had some of the most amazing memories with people who I’ll be friends with for a lifetime. Unfortunately, the rest of it has been crushed due to COVID-19, but we are hoping that by June or July, we will have a celebration of our accomplishments in-person.

The class of 2020 deserves an in-person graduation to commend all of the amazing things we have accomplished. We deserve to honor the students who have worked so hard over the past four years to culminate their experience in Burlingame. Some accomplishments I recall include Robotics Club winning nationals, Jeffrey Chen winning the Breakthrough Science Award, winning Little Big Game every single year, girls varsity soccer winning CCS, and many more outstanding achievements both academically and in extracurriculars.

There are too many stories here that are unfinished. I did not know that the minimum day on March 13 was my last school day at Burlingame ever. We will never have our senior ditch day, our senior prank and senior week — all important rites of passages as we transition into new chapters of our lives. We deserve a graduation in person — on the field where we had our first rally in September of 2016, when we were unaware of the people we would grow into and the friendships we would create.

An in-person graduation allows every single student to have a goodbye. A tearful, nostalgic and happy goodbye. I want to say goodbye to my friends and classmates who I’ve gone to school with since kindergarten. I want to watch my classmates move their tassel over, smiling, knowing that they just graduated. I want to say goodbye to my teachers, especially the ones who fundamentally changed the way I viewed the world and thank them. As we walk across the stage, the teachers will know what amazing mature young adults we have become, ready to thrive in the world.

A digital graduation would be an injustice to the class of 2020 and all of these accomplishments which they have put so much blood, sweat and tears toward. A midsummer graduation will allow the class of 2020 to close one of the most amazing chapters of their life surrounded by friends, family and mentors who have gotten them to that point.

I want to be able to walk across the stage, in front of all of my peers, and receive my diploma. That is the image I have etched into my brain from years of dreaming about this moment — about tipping my cap, with a Blue Devil on the top, celebrating my commitment to continue my education at Duke University. However, I don’t want to start a new chapter of my life without officially closing the one I’m in.

Please do not have a digital graduation. If that is the only rite of passage we can salvage, then we deserve to have a special one, face to face. I’ve done the math. According to the school website, there are 346 seniors. The football field can accommodate students 6 feet apart from each other and immediate family in the bleachers as well. A graduation can follow social distancing guidelines. It may require more effort, but there are a many people willing to help.

The class of 2020 is extraordinary. A midsummer graduation will be the most endeared and accepted alternative — the right choice.

Taylor Glatt is Burlingame High School class of 2020 valedictorian and varsity cheer captain.

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(18) comments

User020600

As a Burlingame High School alumni, I would first like to say that I understand how devastating this time is for the class of 2020. It is deeply saddening to me that the end of your senior year has been cut short, and that your time of celebration has been cancelled. However, I believe that it is of utmost importance that you take the time to consider some context. We are in the midst of a global pandemic. Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives — meaning children have lost their parents, and parents have lost their children. Millions of people have lost their jobs, many of whom will lose their homes, their ability to support loves ones. The consequences of this global pandemic are and will continue to be astronomically devastating for years to come. And so I would like to ask that you please take the time to truly grasp the reality of the situation. You and the class of 2020 deserve recognition for your accomplishments, and I have no doubt in my mind that you will receive that recognition — but in the midst of such a tragic time, that recognition may not come in the form of a traditional graduation. And as unfortunate and saddening as that might be, you need to be mature and accept that. We all have wants; yours are clearly displayed in this article. But as a student planning to continue your education at a highly regarded university, I am asking that you please be mature about this situation and show that you understand that this topic of in-person graduation is about much more than just your desire to walk across a stage to receive your diploma. The administration and the “government” is not keeping graduation from you, they are following the guidelines recommended by public health experts who know much more about the risks than you or I. I truly do hope that when you receive recognition for your accomplishments at Burlingame High School — whether that be digitally or in another form — I hope that you accept it graciously. Your four years at Burlingame High School are far more important, and should mean far more to you, than the way in which you are recognized. Congratulations to you and the class of 2020.

#allinthistogether

Taylor’s article is amazing! As a senior I Personally have no strong opinions on the graduation being cancelled and it doesn’t really bother me but I know how many people have been looking forward to this moment for the past 4 years (or longer) and a lot of students have worked very very hard for their turn to walk across the stage. It is a very important life moment for a lot of people and to the people who said this article sounds entitled, why shouldn’t it be. After putting in countless hours in the classroom doing work and countless hours studying at home instead of spending time with family after spending hours on the field practicing. Why wouldn’t we feel a little entitled to celebrate?! Keep in mind a lot of students such as myself have spent over 12 hours at school many times while having to do homework when we get back home. I appreciate people like Taylor who stick up for all the seniors who are being cheated out of our celebration.

User178635

I am one of the 30+ valedictorians from Burlingame High School’s class of 2020. I would like to share my thoughts about this article and Taylor’s outlook, overall. I completely understand the disappointment that graduation cannot take place as normal. However, I will emphasize that having a mature mindset is being able to accept that you may lose or suffer at the cost of the greater good. Us seniors undoubtedly deserve recognition for our hard work, however we must acknowledge that the lives of others are in our hands.

Taylor, no one is working against you. There is no need to complain or argue. When it is safe to have graduation, our amazing staff will make it happen, and without haste. In the meantime, let’s model maturity and appreciate the support we have had through our accomplishments.

User178635

sorry, I definitely meant with haste

whoknows

Thank you for writing and providing your opinion on this issue. I am a senior at Burlingame High School as well, and I am definitely feeling similar emotions toward not having a prom, senior trip to Hawaii, and of course, graduation. While both sides of the argument (and I'm referring to the comments mostly) are completely valid, I think that it ultimately boils down to a matter of perspective. On the one hand, it's natural for us as students and even parents to get caught up in all of the things we and our kids are missing out on after all of our hard work. We are losing on the events and ceremonies that we have often fantasized about. On the other hand, it's also easy for others to devalue what we have put into our education and academic careers due to the terrible circumstances this global pandemic has put millions of people through. So many students are changing their future plans, whether it's choosing to stay closer to home, taking a gap year, or attending institutions that make the cost of attendance more feasible for their parents. And I am one of them. As a student, it hasn’t been easy. But I am trying to reflect upon what high school as done for me and truly means to me; this pandemic has taught me that high school is not just a place for us to learn technical skills and prepare us for college. It is a place where we are able to gain new perspectives, and more importantly, a place we find solace. It has taught me that I have been living shortsightedly, and that I must realize and acknowledge what others are going through. I am grateful for the amazing education I have received, and am looking forward to what lies ahead, even though it was nowhere near what I had expected or hoped.

I wish you luck at Duke.

Amatatyaou

Wonderfully written article and I support your feeling and sentiments. So proud of all your accomplishments and know that an in person graduation will not diminish your hard work and achievements. Congratulations to you and all the Class of 2020 seniors.

elysevaysberg

I’m truly impressed how this mature teen took the time to articulate her passionate words to fight for something she feels so strongly about. There is No room for negativity here, only praise for a powerful opinion that supports her fight to have a proper graduation. Kudos to you, Taylor.

Live. Laugh. Love

Very well said. I hope that you and your peers get to the opportunity to have an in-person graduation to celebrate your accomplishments and hard work throughout the years.

Terence Y

First, congratulations on being the 2020 valedictorian. Second, it's a great idea to hold a public graduation ceremony and since you've already done the math, you've already dissuaded some naysayers. Third, you can make the ceremony optional and people who are still concerned can stay under their virtual state-imposed house arrest. It would be great if this silly shelter-in-place soon ends and the rest of the 99.9% of people in CA and the US can get back to normal. If not, go ahead and hold the outdoor ceremony anyway. Convince all high schools in the area and in the state to do the same. Good luck at Duke and remember to always think independently and not what people want you to think.

underscore

Ah, this article reeks of the entitlement of America's privileged students, believing that their 3 seconds of walking across a stage, not to fulfill a life long dream of overcoming systematic oppression, financial adversity, or perhaps being a first generation graduate, but because of a narcassicitc desire to show everyone where they're going to university in the fall. Congrats! You are part of 90% of the American population that graduates high-school. Not to mention you are not from a low-income district, so your graduation rate is more like 99%, thus your adversity represented here is your inability to show off where you have gotten into college. At the end of the day, aside from the fact that I....didn't ask, your disappointment with not being able to walk across a stage (which is understandable, as mentioned in another comment that we are all experiencing great misfortune, some experiencing DEATH) is not one rooted in overcoming educational adversity, but simply because you would like to advertise your privilege to those around you. This article misrepresents many student's desire to walk across the stage to finalize their time in high-school and say goodbye to childhood friends. This article depicts a privileged population that wishes to continue to show their privilege to their community.

Christopher Conway

This young lady and her peers are missing out on a normal senior year. Just because of this coronavirus, people are experiencing difficult consequences and none of them should be dismissed as just showing privilege. Good for this young lady and I hope it works out for you and all your friends. Congratulations

Comeonbruh

@yesofcourse who hurt you?

yesofcourse

While your disappointment is understandable (as are the innnumerable disappointments with which most of us are dealing), one can't help hearing a certain sense of entitlement on your part. Thousands of people have died excruciating death, and thousands more are suffering as a consequence of this unimaginably insidious virus. Complaining about being denied the opportunity to publicly celebrate and to be recognized for one's academic achievements rings somewhat hollow in the context of the real world of April 2020. One hopes that your studies at Duke give you the opportunity to attain knowledge, experience, and, above all, perspective and humility.

Comeonbruh

Ok Boomer, who hurt you?

Comeonbruh

Ok Boomer

Comeonbruh

The fact that you have the audacity to sit back and criticize someone for wanting to celebrate their academic achievement is incredulous and pathetic. How is it entitled to ask for something that literally every other person who has gone to college got to experience? Nobody made you the judge of disappointment, what does it matter to you that these bright young adults want to celebrate their achievement. I find it pretty unbelievable to find a comment like this on such a well written and emotional article. One hopes that this reply gives you the opportunity to reflect on your negativity, carelessness, and, above all, lack of compassion.

ursowrong

It is entirely understandable that people are losing their lives from the pandemic we are facing today, but you seem to have failed in understanding the importance of a graduation ceremony for many people. It is almost as if you have never gone through the long hours of studying, practicing, taking exams, and many more efforts that high school students endure while they take on their journey to one day be admitted to their dream university. Perspective is maybe something YOU should learn how to consider because it seems as if you did not take into perspective a single ounce of their hard work, dedication, and motivation for all of it to be stripped from every single one of these students. This is not just a time for them to "publicly celebrate", it is something you take with you for the rest of your life, as I know I did. Take one second to think about what they are feeling, before claiming "entitlement", think about never experiencing one of the most important moments of your life, your high school graduation.

Christopher Conway

Did you know that people still got married and had children during the Civil War. Can you believe that? Life goes on even in circumstances like these. Congratulations to all the recent graduates, you deserve your time in the sun.

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