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2019-BI-School-graduation-by-Malcolm-GreenawayPhoto: Malcolm Greenaway
Gone are the graduation ceremonies of yesteryear.

Spurred on by a suggestion from Nancy Greenaway and by actor John Krasinski’s Some Good News (below), I poked around on the web to see what people were doing about class reunions and graduations this year — besides canceling them.

A group of women missing out on their 50th class reunion got together on a video call, dressed mostly as they would have been in person. Max Chesnes wrote about their reunion at Treasure Coast Palm in Florida.

“At 67, Mimi Kuriger prepped for her first ever Zoom video call the only way she knew how: ‘I wore my Barbara Bush pearls to hide my wrinkles,’ laughed the now-retired nurse living in Vero Beach.

“Kuriger is among the 92 graduates of Mount Saint Joseph Academy, an all-women school in Flourtown, Pennsylvania, who had been planning their 50th class reunion weekend for over a year. … But as is the case for most people around the world who have altered or cancelled travel in the midst of a global pandemic, the novel coronavirus shuttered their plans. …

“Instead of an in-person meetup, 25 women from Saint Joseph sipped from their glasses of wine and martinis (or several) and gathered virtually. …

‘We were all probably sitting in our pajama pants, but we were dressed to the nines up top,’ Kuriger said. …

“The online conversation ran for two hours and went on without a hitch, Kuriger said. Some ladies pulled out their 1970 yearbooks and pointed to pictures from five decades ago, while others brought up the academy’s nuns.

“The virtual meetup was nostalgic — and sometimes emotional — as everyone came together from the comfort of their own homes to reminisce.” More.

Meanwhile, there have been nontraditional graduation plans for many age groups, including drive-by celebrations for kindergartners.

Brown University will have a virtual graduation May 24 and a double in-person one next year for both the class of 2020 and the class of 2021.

UMass Amherst had wide range of speakers for this year’s virtual commencement, held May 8. They included sports stars, actors, politicians, and graduates like John Jacobs of Life Is Good.

Photo: UMass Amherst
UMass alumnus John Jacobs, cofounder of Life is Good, spoke from a social distance to UMass graduates during the online commencement.

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Jacobs told graduates, “I know it hasn’t been easy this year, but the resilience you’ve shown — that’s going to serve you well in the long haul. … If you’re feeling a little lost right now, we did too. The only way we learned was to try, and stumble, and adjust as we went along.” More.

Howard University in Washington also held an online ceremony, and although some would undoubtedly have preferred to hear their names read out in a crowd of people, graduate Anna Sumner reported pure joy to a local television station: “I feel like I’m on cloud nine right now. Even though I wasn’t there in body, I was definitely there in spirit. …

“I could imagine instead of being on the bleachers, for once actually being the one in the seats in my cap and gown. … It was bittersweet for sure though, and I try not to dwell on the negative aspect, but still just the recognition and the moment of victory. It was awesome.” More.

Pretty sure Anna has a bright future.

Meanwhile, students at Berkeley, preserving their reputation for being a bit “out there” are hosting a virtual Minecraft graduation on an exact replica of the campus, followed by a two-day virtual music festival that will be streamed on @twitch TV. (Follow at @blockeleyofficial on Instagram.) More here.

Now, Friends, set aside 25 minutes or so to watch this graduation ceremony from the John Krasinski YouTube show called Some Good News. It was amazing. And be sure to hang on after it appears to be over and the credits start to roll so you can hear National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman recite her graduation poem.

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bitcoin-machine-at-South-StationA friend is doing research on bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

Although it sounds like phoney money to me, I still honor the lesson I got in fourth grade about how a dollar represents trust. You trust when you receive it that it will be accepted by someone else in exchange for something you want. You trust the entity that backs it. Today people are using virtual currencies like real money, so trust is working so far.

But does it all remind you of the company that used to accept your money and promise to do your worrying for you? Or how about virtual gift giving, which enjoyed a flurry of attention in the media a while back. (The gift company will e-mail your friend that you “bought” a virtual gift. The concept is based on the premise that it’s the thought that counts. VirtualGifts4U.com, for one, just asks you to support its sponsors.)

I took this picture at Boston’s South Station, where, during specified hours, a friendly young man will explain how you can buy bitcoins at this machine. I haven’t chatted with him, so I don’t know if he also explains that the value of your bitcoins can not only go up in an hour or two but go way down.

There is no significance to the fact that the machine is located right next to an endlessly running “If you see something, say something” security video.

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