Students work hard during their entire academic careers in order to have the opportunity to stand up, walk across the stage in their caps and gowns, and claim their diplomas. Graduating from high school is an accomplishment that almost everyone looks forward to achieving throughout their entire life, however, for the class of 2020, that honor was stripped away from them due to the deadly COVID-19 Pandemic.
In order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, which is especially dangerous for elderly citizens and those with pre-existing conditions, most of these graduation ceremonies were canceled. In fact, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced on Thursday afternoon that all public schools inside the state would remain closed for the rest of the academic year — meaning for seniors, it was all over. No more high school classes, no prom, no graduation ceremony.
However, the University of Tennessee decided to take a simple action in honor of the class of 2020. They joined Knox County Public Schools, lighting up Neyland Stadium in honor of the students whose senior year came to an abrupt end. WBIR’s Alex Myers tweeted a video of the Neyland Stadium during the honoring, in which the jumbotron in the stadium read a simple, salient message: “Tennessee Football Salutes the Class of 2020.”
Tonight, @Vol_Football did something really neat.
They joined Knox County Schools in lighting up their stadiums in support of the class of 2020.
A simple, yet encouraging message was visible on the Neyland Stadium jumbotron.
"Tennessee Football Salutes the Class of 2020" pic.twitter.com/uXieEOmb54
— Alex Myers (@AlexMyersTV) April 18, 2020
As of right now, the state of Tennessee’s mandatory stay at home order remains in effect until April 30th. Meanwhile, the University of Tennessee’s actions, while very simple, were a great act in support of students whose senior year were stripped away due to the pandemic — it was truly a sight to be seen and was a bright spot in a very dark time for the world.