The Bay Area Spotlights Local Graduates

As a graduating senior at UC Santa Barbara, my graduation has been indefinitely canceled. I say indefinitely because nobody is sure if it is still happening at a later date or if the in-person ceremony will cease to exist. There will be a virtual ceremony on June 14, the same day as the former in-person ceremony, but many students will argue that this is not the same as a real celebration. However, all hope is not lost for recognition for those students who are graduating from high school or college this year.

A few weeks ago, my grandmother sent a text to my father and stepmother. The text talked about a “senior spotlight” that KGO, a local news station, was putting on for seniors affected by the pandemic. Anyone could (and still can) apply, and they will be featured on the station. My grandmother suggested that my parents submit both me and my sister, who is also a graduating sociology student at UCSB, to the event. I don’t know if she was submitted, but I know I was.

Technically, it was supposed to be a surprise for both my mom and I, but my mom “cheated” and looked up the website. At 6:00 pm, my mom, brother and I sat in the living room and watched the news. We assumed it might come on at the end of the hour-long show. Half an hour passed before we saw anything. Around 6:40 my brother got up to go pee and, wouldn’t you know, my name got shown on the TV.

(the picture featured on the TV program)

I’ll be honest that I had no idea what to expect and it was a bit shocking. I am a very shy person and don’t love this type of attention. You can imagine my surprise when I saw myself on the news and compliments started flowing in through my social media. Something about it was really nice. I never would have expected to be featured. 

A few days have passed and I have continued to get compliments on my mom’s Facebook post, my Snapchat post that my brother convinced me to make, and even Twitter. I’ve told two of my good friends to apply, and I haven’t found their pictures on the website yet, but I’m excited to see someone I know get featured. It’s a really nice thing that KGO is doing for those seniors whose accomplishments feel forgotten, and I hope many more people take advantage of it. There are about 130 people so far, and I’m excited to see those numbers rise.

Overall, it’s just really nice to get this recognition we deserve, even if it’s small and a lot of people might not watch the news. It shows that students, business, and news groups like this are all in this together. We all have individual struggles and losses that we have to deal with. We are one in the same and can get through this pandemic together. 

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