Image taken by Kim Pham © in 2016 for University Of Canberra
Congratulations class of 2020! After the Saudi Ministry of Education announced that high school students will pass the academic year, the fun celebrations began... All the while keeping social distancing measures, the fresh Saudi graduates celebrated in virtual fashion with their friends and stayed in with their family. Without further ado, get to know this year's graduating class, which shared their festivities with Arab News.
Image belongs to Arab News
Miad Basri from 47th Secondary School in Jeddah
After schools moved education to online mode, Basri didn't feel at ease with this change of routine at first. “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. Luckily, her school teachers encouraged her to keep her head high and focus on her studies. “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.”
Dana Bahamdein, a graduate of Jeddah’s Al-Ferdous Private School
“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 withstood the tradition of wearing the stunning grad gowns with her loved ones. "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," she added.
Rameez Al-Masmoum, a graduate of Jeddah’s Al-Ferdous Private School
“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,” Al-Masmoum told Arab News.
“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 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.”
Nouf Abdulmutaly a graduate from Riyadh’s Dar Al-Salam
“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,” Abdulmutaly said. She got the chance to give her commencement speech to her 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 a graduate from 2nd Secondary School in Rabigh
Al-Jahdali's grad party plans were all set out! “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. Celebrating with your family is more than enough," she said.