High School seniors preparing for graduation

By Jazmen Poole
Staff Writer 

TUSCALOOSA— Tuscaloosa City Schools will host commencement for the class of 2021 on Friday, May 28.

Graduating seniors from each of three high schools will receive their diplomas in three separate ceremonies held at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater downtown.

Graduating seniors will receive seven tickets for guests because of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements. 

Karen Kennedy, a 12th grade teacher at Central High School, described the importance of graduation by saying it is a “huge deal for our students.”

 “For many of them getting this far is such an amazing accomplishment,” she said, “and for some they may be the first in their family to graduate from high school.”

Kennedy also said the students faced many obstacles, and she loves to be able to celebrate this accomplishment with them.

Kennedy said the school is helping students prepare for the next phase of their lives.  

“Like, how to manage time as an adult, or how to prepare for the expenses that will come when you are independent.” 

Emily Beshada, a high school student at DePaul Catholic, said her graduation will be outside rather than in the gym because of COVID. Beshada said she is excited. 

“I’m feeling a lot of emotions, the fact that I’m the one graduating,” Beshada said. “I’m always looking forward to the speeches various people give. After graduation I guess I’m looking forward to just experience life in general especially independently.”

Beshada will graduate with a 3.72 GPA and as part of the National Honor Society and Interact Club. She hopes hopes to get all As this quarter. 

Beshada also have future plans after graduation and plans to attend The University of Miami this fall.

 “I am using the fall semester I get off to work, take classes, volunteer, and hopefully travel to visit friends at their schools and maybe just travel in general.”

Tarica Lamar, a counselor at Wetumpka High School, gives her input on what her school is doing for this year’s graduation.

“My school is unique in that students rotate in and out of our campus all day,” Lamar said. “As a technical center, we serve 5 different schools, so I attend all 5 of the graduations.

“Like last year, all ceremonies will be held outside in the school’s football stadium and students at the two largest high schools will get 10 tickets and the students at the two smaller high schools will get 8 tickets.”

Lamar also states her role in preparing the seniors at Wetumpka High School. 

“I’m the Assistant Director of the Elmore County Technical Center, of a program called RAMP,” Lamar said. “RAMP is a program for graduating seniors that do not have enough credits graduate.”

“I along with my credit recovery teacher make sure that the students’ recovery the credits they need to graduate.”

Lamar hopes for the seniors to follow their dreams and not let other harmful things get in the way of that.

“My hope for all the graduating seniors in Elmore County is to follow their dreams and their passion,” Lamar said. “I want them to be productive members of society.”

“I hope they are able to enjoy their young adult years without going to jail and developing bad habits such as drugs.”