Dr. Fahad bin Abdullah Toonsi, secretary-general of the Saudi Secretariat for the G20

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Saudi high school students are heaving a sigh of relief as they celebrate their graduation online during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic after officially completing their final exams last week.
Last month, students across the Kingdom rejoiced as the Saudi Education Ministry decided to promote students of all grades to the next year of their program of studies, due to the pandemic.
The step was taken to ensure the safety of students and prevent them from losing an academic year due to restrictions imposed in the wake of the global health crisis.
The decision offered much-needed relief to the students who had been nervous because of the situation. Most of them celebrated their graduations online using different platforms.
Students celebrated in different ways. Some simply shared the moment with their families, while others organized virtual parties with friends, using online video platforms such as Zoom or Houseparty.
Miad Basri, who graduated from 47th Secondary School in Jeddah, said the news that she would be continuing her final semester online in quarantine had left her anxious.
“I felt scared and stressed, especially since it is my final semester, and that my fate is tied to what is coming next. I was also puzzled about how things went in these situations,” she told Arab News.
Basri said that her schoolteachers’ encouraging attitude helped her see the situation in a more positive light.
“My view of the situation changed positively because of my teachers and the efforts they made to help us,” she said.
“I shared my joy with my family, and we had a simple celebration at home.”

BACKGROUND

Last month, students across the Kingdom rejoiced as the Saudi Education Ministry decided to promote students of all grades to the next year of their program of studies, due to the pandemic.

Dana Bahamdein, a graduate of Jeddah’s Al-Ferdous Private School, celebrated her graduation with her classmates on Zoom.
“The graduation was supposed to be the most memorable day in our lives, but due to the virus (lockdown) our plans were changed,” she told Arab News.
Bahamdein said that although she was unable to celebrate her graduation “in real life,” seeing her classmates in their graduation gowns was emotionally uplifting.
“My friends and I thought it would be a good idea if we all got dressed up in our graduation gowns and logged in to Zoom. It was sad, I’m not going to lie, but seeing them all dressed up was heartwarming.”


Another Al-Ferdous graduate, Rameez Al-Masmoum, said that the events of this year had caught her off guard.
“I never thought 2020 would end up being like this; we were excited about it being our graduation year and all. We ended up graduating in our bedrooms,” she told Arab News.
However, she kept a positive attitude despite being unable to celebrate with loved ones.
“We tried to make the best of it. We got dressed up on the day of the graduation and had a Zoom and Snapchat call. Everyone looked gorgeous and I spent the day with my friends and family, dancing, laughing, maybe crying, and hugging.

We got dressed up on the day of the graduation and had a Zoom and Snapchat call.

Rameez Al-Masmoum

“We won’t forget this day. We might be sad about it now, but maybe in 10 years time, we will be able to laugh it off, or maybe it will be a story to tell our children in the future.”
Riyadh’s Dar Al-Salam Schools graduate Nouf Abdulmutaly said that she was heartbroken when told she would have to complete the semester online.
“I knew I wasn’t going to have my dream graduation, standing on the stage in front of people or hearing people cheer my name,” she said.
Abdulmutaly gave her commencement speech in front of family members in her living room.
“I celebrated by gathering all my family members in the living room and they cheered my name as I walked down the stairs. I also did my commencement speech, which was a really nice feeling.
“My message to graduates who want to celebrate during this time is to gather your family and have the best quarantine graduation ever.”
Morooj Al-Jahdali, who graduated from 2nd Secondary School in Rabigh, had planned her graduation party before the virus curbs were announced.
“We started preparing for the graduation ceremony with great enthusiasm, then the decision was made and I felt very sad because I could not celebrate with my school friends.”
However, Al-Jahdali agreed the decision protected people’s health and safety.
“I was optimistic because the decision to keep away from large gatherings during this time was for our own good,” she said.
“Celebrating with your family is more than enough.”

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