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If you’re looking for good news — and who isn’t — the announcement that the Ellensburg School District is planning an in-person graduation ceremony for the class of 2021 has to fall into that category.

The details may change — it could be outdoors at the EHS football field with each grad given four tickets or indoors in the EHS gym with each grad given two tickets — but the bottomline is it will be a celebration for what class members have been able to accomplish.

A lot was lost during the past year-plus of COVID-19 restrictions but what may have hurt the most was the cancellation of life-milestone events.

Some of these were just postponed — chances are there will be a surge of weddings this summer since so many push pushed back in 2020. But some things — such as high school and college graduations — will not be made up.

There is no doubt that graduation ceremonies can be cheesy and cliched and test your limits on how many times you can listen to “Pomp and Circumstance,” but that’s part of what makes them special.

Everyone has a story about a graduation speech that weirdly went off the rails or a cap that soared into the air never to be seen again or that guy in your class who somehow snuck an air horn in under his robe.

Graduation ceremonies tie together generation after generation with their ritual. It is just sad to think that an entire year of graduates lost that.

Last year the smaller districts did put together variations on the ceremonies, but Ellensburg High and Central Washington University had to go virtual. CWU is going virtual again this year.

Even a slickly produced virtual ceremony is not the same. Education is about interactions and relationships. It should be celebrated with people.

This has been an unprecedented 14 months or so in public education. At a minimum the ceremony will give students a chance to put the experience into context. Graduations are poignant moments when the class knows it is all together for the last time. This year will be made even more special since this will be a class coming together after having been apart.

What people crave is a return to celebrating life’s moments. Even if you know that complying with COVID restrictions is the right thing to do — the best way to keep yourself, family and friends healthy — it is difficult to not invite everyone over for a child’s birthday party or a parents wedding anniversary celebration. Doing that for a year was tough enough, continuing that into a second year is testing people.

That is why getting the COVID-19 vaccine and continue with the simple safety measures such as wearing a mask in public are so critical. They are our road back to what we want to do.

Graduations are always reason to celebrate, this year even more so.

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