More than 500 petitions from across the country have been started by students and parents, whose dreams of walking the stage, or watching their child wearing a cap and gown at a commencement ceremony, have been dashed by the coronavirus crisis.
In North Carolina, six petitions have been started by local students and parents calling on their schools to host in-person graduations later in the year.
Schools throughout the nation have been forced to rethink the tradition, which would bring hundreds or even thousands of people close together, in a time when social distancing and shelter-in-place orders have been issued to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
The alternative of holding virtual commencements via video conferencing software, like Zoom, has been met by strong pushback, with a movement of more than 550,000 signers demanding an opportunity to have the event in-person at a later stage, when restrictions on gatherings have been lifted.
"The biggest trend on Change.org right now is being led by hundreds of students, urging high school and colleges to reschedule or postpone graduations canceled by COVID-19," said Michael Jones, Managing Director of Campaigns. "There are petitions from almost every state, signed by thousands of students who don't want their senior years to disappear without some kind of recognition."