North Star senior reflects on in-person graduation

Graduation provided "good closure" according to senior Layla Omari.

Graduation during a pandemic.

That was the reality for seniors across the city as Lincoln Public Schools held in-person high school graduations at Pinnacle Bank Arena over the weekend. For Lincoln North Star graduate, Layla Omari, who was one of the three senior commencement speakers in her graduating class, the opportunity to have an in-person graduation meant a lot.

“It was a pretty cool experience,” Omari said. “Kind of a final goodbye. I feel like school was already done in March and most of us had kind of moved on, with missing our fourth quarter and senior prom and most of the important things you do senior year, but honestly, it was a good closure to end a chapter in our lives that took so long to get here.”

Masks were required to attend and seating was spaced out to provide for social distancing. Omari said that she definitely noticed the difference.

“Something that was really different about the graduation was that it was a lot more empty,” Omari said. “We had over 100 students not show up and I’m assuming that’s because of COVID. Usually at [Pinnacle Bank Arena] or Devaney Sports Center, all the chairs are full with families there to support, but almost half the stadium was empty.”

In total, 402 students graduated from North Star on Saturday, one of six schools to hold in-person graduations over the weekend.

Omari will be attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall and is planning on studying journalism on a pre-law track. While she’s looking forward to what lies ahead in the future, she appreciated the opportunity to share one last moment with her classmates.

“I’ll remember how amazing it was saying goodbye to all of my friends that are going our of state for college and having that one last chance to experience high school considering we didn’t get our fourth quarter,” Omari said.

Categories: Nebraska News, News