Graduation is a rite of passage that you have no doubt been looking forward to for some time. While Spring 2020 has brought a season of disappointments, canceling graduations seems particularly egregious. This is the culminating celebration for years of hard work. It should be a day that is celebrated with teachers, family and friends, hugs, handshakes and high-fives. Unfortunately, for most students that’s not possible right now.
Perhaps it is precisely because we all know nothing can replace standing next to your friends and throwing your cap in the air, communities around the country have come together to devise creative ways to mark the importance of this occasion. There have been graduation car parades, ceremonies held at drive-in theaters, individual graduations hosted in living rooms, and virtual ceremonies featuring special guests.
Speaking of special guests – celebrities, CEOs, pro athletes, and entertainers are all getting in on the act. In response to a viral tweet by Eagle Rock High School senior, Lincoln Debenham, Barack and Michelle Obama announced last week that they would participate in multiple commencement ceremonies. The first is this Saturday, May 16. Called #GraduateTogether, it features the Obamas along with Lebron James, Pharrell Williams, the Jonas Brothers, Megan Rapinoe, and others. The event will be broadcast by ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC beginning at 8pm ET/PT, 7pm CT/MT. This Forbes article details a number of other celebrity ceremonies including a May 15 Facebook event headlined by Oprah and a May 16 iHeart Radio podcast of celebrity commencement addresses.
The Great Class of 2020! We love you! Our hearts break for the disappointments you have been handed this spring, and yet we celebrate you all the same. You deserve to be recognized, and we will do that in whatever way possible. We are so proud of your accomplishments and especially proud of the grace with which you have handled these final weeks of your senior year.
I would like to dedicate this blog post to the Great Class of 2020 and one graduate in particular: my Tuvana, who has just graduated from Emerson College. It seems like only yesterday when we were visiting colleges with her. Here we are – our Wunderkind is now officially a college grad! We threw a little graduation party in her honor last weekend, but it was quarantine style of course – the guests consisted of my husband Ozgur, my younger daughter Lara, our four-legged son Kai, myself, and the guest of honor. It was not the graduation I had envisioned for her, but all obstacles aside, I think we still managed to celebrate her greatest accomplishment yet.
I am so proud of you, Tuvana! We will see better days and give you the celebration you deserve. I would like to leave you with this 2020 Commencement Speech You’ll Never Hear. You will always belong to the Great Class of 2020, and no one can ever take that away from you! As you embark on your next journey, I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for you. Congratulations, Emersonian! You did it! Welcome to the Emerson Mafia!
Burcak Deniz Cakir
Founder and President | EdMission Possible
Burcak Deniz Cakir has a B.A. in Foreign Language Education, an M.A. in English Language Teaching, and an M.B.A., all of which have laid the solid foundation for her professional experiences as an educator. She has completed the College Counseling Program at UCLA, which is known to be the most prestigious certificate program in the profession. She has previously taught English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in Turkey and in the U.S. at Virginia Tech, Harcum College, Rutgers University (Newark and New Brunswick Campuses), and Pace University. Having taught EFL/ESL at the college level for over 20 years, Burcak can communicate effectively with college-age students from different countries. She is bilingual in Turkish and English. Her extensive experience with international students from many countries including but not limited to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and China has given her the opportunity to understand their unique problems that domestic students may not be facing throughout the college admissions process, such as but not limited to extra testing requirements (TOEFL, IELTS), the translation of high school transcripts and recommendation letters, different financial forms and statements required, visa issues, being homesick, culture shock, etc.
Burcak is an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and a Voting Member of the International Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC). She currently lives in Edison, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and her four-legged son. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family, reading (lots!) about college admissions and college essays, watching her favorite movies, getting lost in design magazines, and decorating her house.
This blog post is a part of EdMission Possible’s #AskTheGuru Series. Its content was provided and brought to you by: